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Gustaw Woch, Robert B. Aramant, Magdalene J. Seiler, Botir T. Sagdullaev, Maureen A. McCall; Retinal Transplants Restore Visually Evoked Responses in Rats with Photoreceptor Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(7):1669-1676.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
purpose. To assess whether transplantation of intact sheets of fetal retina with
retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) into a retina with photoreceptor
degeneration restores visually evoked responses.
methods. Sheets of fetal retina with RPE were transplanted into the subretinal
space of Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats at 37 to 69 days of age.
Sixty-three days to 10 months after transplantation, multiunit visual
responses were recorded in the superior colliculus (SC) of transplanted
rats, age-matched untransplanted rats, and rats with sham surgery.
results. In 19 of 29 RCS rats with transplants, visually evoked responses were
recorded from and restricted to a small area of the SC that corresponds
topographically to the portion of the retina in which the transplant
was placed. Outside of this area, no visual responses were evoked.
Visually evoked responses were never recorded in age-matched,
nontransplanted RCS rats. Visually evoked responses were recorded in 6
of 13 RCS rats with sham surgery, but these responses were
significantly different from responses in rats with transplants.
conclusions. These results demonstrate that this transplantation technique restores
visually evoked responses in the brain. Although the underlying
mechanism is unknown, we propose that the central visual response
results from increased synaptic efficacy within the host retina. If it
can be established that functional connections between the transplant
and the host retina produce the effect, then it would indicate that the
technique could be explored as a therapeutic strategy in some diseases
of retinal degeneration.
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