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H Dreyfus, B Guérold, V Fontaine, J Sahel, D Hicks; Simplified ganglioside composition of photoreceptors compared to other retinal neurons.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1996;37(4):574-585. doi: https://doi.org/.
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PURPOSE: The quantitative and qualitative ganglioside composition of retinal photoreceptor cells is unknown. The aim of this study was to analyze the lipid, especially ganglioside, make-up of photoreceptors compared to other retinal cells. METHODS: Retinas from adult normal rats were mechanically separated into outer (photoreceptors) and inner (other retinal neurons and glia) halves be planar vibratome sectioning. Total lipids were extracted, and each fraction (neural, phospholipids, and glycosphingolipids) was eluted sequentially by column chromatography and quantitated through high-performance thin layer chromatogram analysis. Similar analyses were performed on entire retinas from adult normal rats, adult dystrophic rats lacking photoreceptors (RCS-rdy-p+ strain), and isolated photoreceptor outer segments. RESULTS: Whereas phospholipids were distributed equally between the two halves, inner retina contained significantly more cholesterol (68% total) and gangliosides (74% total) than outer retina on a unit protein basis. The distribution on a percent molar basis of specific gangliosides also was significantly different between the two halves: Outer retina was dominated by GD3 (45% total ganglioside) and contained only trace amounts (<4%) of complex species (GT1b and GQ1b); inner retina was more typical of mature brain tissue exhibiting substantial amounts (approximately 25%) of more complex species. These data were supported by lipid compositional analyses of mutant photoreceptor-less retina. However, isolated outer segments resembled whole retina in containing higher levels of complex gangliosides. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that, compared to other central nervous system-derived neurons, photoreceptor cell body membranes exhibit a highly unusual simplified ganglioside composition. Such an unusual neuronal lipid composition may reflect structural adaptations to their specialized function.
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