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BB Thomas, RB Aramant, MJ Seiler; Retinal Transplantation Preserves Visual Responses in a Rat Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):922.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: To evaluate the effects of retinal transplantation on visual responses in the superior colliculus (SC) in a rat model with slow photoreceptor degeneration. In the transgenic s334ter-5 rats, the rod photoreceptor degeneration takes place slowly, making it a model for retinitis pigmentosa. The pattern of retinal degeneration in this model and the long term effects of retinal transplantation was studied. Methods: Sheets of fetal retina with or without RPE from E17-19 pigmented rats were transplanted into the subretinal space of P29-43 rats. In sham surgery controls, the same surgical procedure was performed, without delivering donor tissue. Results: An initial scotoma develops after 3 months of age, starting from the caudal region of the SC and gradually spreading towards the medial and lateral SC. Visually evoked responses could be recorded from the mid-rostral regions of the SC up to 10 months of age. In rats with transplants the quality of the visual responses in the caudal region of the SC improved. This corresponded topographically to the placement of the transplant in the retina. In 78% of the transplanted rats, responses with comparatively lower latency could be recorded in SC from areas corresponding the placement of the transplant in the retina. Such responses could only be recorded in 7% of controls and 12% of sham surgery animals. Further, the responses from transplanted animals had a shorter latency and were more consistent than responses in controls. Conclusion: In S334ter-5 rats visually evoked responses could be recorded from the SC up to 10 months after the initiation of degeneration process. Rats with retinal transplants had a better quality of preservation of the responses. When the SC is used to assay restoration of visual responses in a slow degenerating animal model, the latency and consistency of the responses can be considered as reliable parameters. This study points out the potential of this fetal retinal sheet transplantation technique to bring out long term rescuing effects in a retinitis pigmentosa model. Supported by: Foundation Fighting Blindness; Murray Foundation Inc., New York; Vitreoretinal Foundation, Louisville; Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation; Research to Prevent Blindness; and private funds.
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