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Claudia Gargini, M. Stefania Belfiore, Silvia Bisti, Luigi Cervetto, Krisztina Valter, Jonathan Stone; The Impact of Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor on Photoreceptor Function and Morphology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(9):2088-2099.
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purpose. To assess the impact of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) on
photoreceptor function and morphology.
methods. Impact was assessed in two models. In one, the endogenous expression of
bFGF in photoreceptors was raised by sectioning one optic nerve of rats
3 to 4 weeks before study. In the other, bFGF was injected into the
vitreous chamber in rats and cats. Retinal function was assessed from
the electroretinogram (ERG), and retinal morphology was studied using
DNA dyes, immunolabeling, and in situ hybridization.
results. In both models of bFGF upregulation, the ERG b-wave was suppressed over
a wide stimulus range and in light- and dark-adapted conditions. The
a-wave was not suppressed by either procedure and at the brightest
intensities was enhanced by both procedures. In nerve-sectioned eyes,
outer retina appeared normal histologically, but levels of bFGF protein
in the inner and outer nuclear layers were raised, whereas bFGF mRNA
levels remained unchanged. In both models, levels of synaptophysin in
the outer plexiform layer and of cytochrome oxidase in inner segments
were raised in association with increases in bFGF protein levels.
conclusions. bFGF increased the ability of photoreceptors to respond to light but
attenuated the transmission of this response to inner retinal cells,
presumably by blocking the photoreceptor–bipolar synapse. If the
expression of bFGF protein is upregulated in human photoreceptor
dystrophies, it may contribute a reversible component to the loss of
vision. The relationship between these actions of bFGF and its ability
to protect photoreceptors from stress remains to be
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