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Feng Liu, Jia Zhang, Zongqin Xiang, Di Xu, Kwok-Fai So, Noga Vardi, Ying Xu; Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides Protect Retina in rd1 Mice During Photoreceptor Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(1):597-611. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22881.
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As an active component in wolfberry, lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) are capable of protecting retinal neurons in several animal disease models. Here, we asked whether LBP rescues the retinal morphology and function in rd1 mouse, a photoreceptor fast-degenerating animal model of retinitis pigmentosa, and in particular focused on LBP's effects on the function of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) during photoreceptor degeneration.
An equal volume of LBP or control vehicle was daily intraperitoneal (i.p.) injected in rd1 mice from postnatal day 4 (P4) to P14, P20, or P24 when photoreceptors completely degenerate. Immunostaining, electroretinogram (ERG), visual behavior tests and multielectrode array (MEA) recordings were assessed to determine the structure and function of the treated retina.
LBP treatment greatly promoted photoreceptor survival, enhanced ERG responses, and improved visual behaviors in rd1 mice. MEA data showed that LBP treatment in general decreased the abnormally high spontaneous spiking that occurs in rd1 mice, and increased the percentage of light-responsive RGCs as well as their light-evoked response, light sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, and response speed. Interestingly, LBP treatment affected ON and OFF responses differently.
LBP improves retinal morphology and function in rd1 mice, and delays the functional decay of RGCs during photoreceptor degeneration. This is the first study that has examined in detail the effects of LBP on RGC responses. Our data suggest that LBP may help extend the effective time window before more invasive RP therapeutic approaches such as retinoprosthesis are applied.
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