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Diego García-Ayuso, Johnny Di Pierdomenico, Wahiba Hadj-Said, Mélanie Marie, Marta Agudo-Barriuso, Manuel Vidal-Sanz, Serge Picaud, María P. Villegas-Pérez; Taurine Depletion Causes ipRGC Loss and Increases Light-Induced Photoreceptor Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(3):1396-1409. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23258.
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To examine if light exposure exacerbates retinal neuronal loss induced by taurine depletion.
Albino rats received β-alanine in the drinking water to induce taurine depletion. One month later, half of the animals were exposed to white light (3000 lux) continuously for 48 hours and the rest remained in normal environmental conditions. A control group of animals nontreated with β-alanine also was prepared, and half of them were exposed to light using the same protocol. All the animals were processed 2 months after the beginning of the experiment. Retinas were dissected as wholemounts and immunodetected with antibodies against Brn3a, melanopsin, S-opsin, and L-opsin to label different retinal populations: Brn3a+ retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) (image-forming RGCs), m+RGCs (non–image-forming RGCs), and S- and L/M-cones, respectively.
Light exposure did not affect the numbers of Brn3a+RGCs or m+RGCs but diminished the numbers of S- and L/M-cones and caused the appearance of rings devoid of cones, mainly in an “arciform” area in the superotemporal retina. Taurine depletion caused a diminution of all the studied populations, with m+RGCs the most affected, followed by S-cones. Light exposure under taurine depletion increased photoreceptor degeneration but did not seem to increase Brn3a+RGCs or m+RGCs loss.
Our results document that taurine is necessary for cell survival in the rat retina and even more under light-induced photoreceptor degeneration. Thus, taurine supplementation may help to prevent retinal degenerations, especially those that commence with S-cone degeneration or in which light may be an etiologic factor, such as inherited retinal degenerations, AMD, or glaucoma.
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