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Neuronal plasticity of the inner retina has been observed in response to photoreceptor degeneration. Typically, this phenomenon has been considered maladaptive and may preclude vision restoration in the blind. However, several recent studies utilizing triggered photoreceptor ablation have shown adaptive responses in bipolar cells expected to support normal vision. Whether such homeostatic plasticity occurs during progressive photoreceptor degenerative disease to help maintain normal visual behavior is unknown. We addressed this issue in an established mouse model of Retinitis Pigmentosa caused by the P23H mutation in rhodopsin. We show robust modulation of the retinal transcriptomic network, reminiscent of the neurodevelopmental state, and potentiation of rod - rod bipolar cell signaling following rod photoreceptor degeneration. Additionally, we found highly sensitive night vision in P23H mice even when more than half of the rod photoreceptors were lost. These results suggest retinal adaptation leading to persistent visual function during photoreceptor degenerative disease. © 2020, Leinonen et al.


Henri Leinonen, Nguyen C Pham, Taylor Boyd, Johanes Santoso, Krzysztof Palczewski, Frans Vinberg. Homeostatic plasticity in the retina is associated with maintenance of night vision during retinal degenerative disease. eLife. 2020 Sep 22;9

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PMID: 32960171

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