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Kin-Sang Cho, Honghua Yu, Shuai Guo, Dong Feng Chen; Transpalpebral electrical stimulation protects against progressive degeneration of photoreceptors in Rhodopsin knockout mice.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):2733.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, lead to progressive loss of photoreceptors. Currently, no cure is available. Some studies showed that electrical stimulation (ES) improves vision in patients with retinal degeneration. In this study, we propose to test the hypothesis that transpalpebral ES prevents retinal degeneration and improves retinal function in Rhodopsin knockout (Rho-/-) mice, a model of retinitis pigmentosa.
Six weeks old Rho-/- mice were treated with transpalpebral ES on one eye (4 spots, 40 sec/spot; 100µA) and sham stimulation on the contralateral eye, daily for 7 consecutive days every other week. ES was delivered via a hand held stimulating electrode, and the ground electrode was placed under the abdomen. Retinal function was evaluated weekly with electroretinogram (ERG). Mice were sacrificed at 7 and 10 weeks old, and the retinas were collected for histology, immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis.
As expected, the sham treated eyes of Rho-/- mice displayed a progressive decline of b-wave amplitude and thinning of outer nuclear layer that were comparable to the untreated age matched control eyes of Rho-/- mice. In contrast, there was a significant improvement of b-wave amplitude in the treated eye of Rho-/- mice up to 10 weeks of age examined. This was accompanied by a significant increase of outer nuclear layer thickness, reduced photoreceptor apoptosis and elevated expression of photoreceptor specific genes.
Transpalpebral ES reduces photoreceptor cell death and prevents the degeneration of retinal function in Rho-/- mice. Our data suggest that transpalpebral ES may represent a safe and non-invasive strategy for treating photoreceptor degeneration, such as retinitis pigmentosa.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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