Special Issue "The Retina in Health and Disease"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409). This special issue belongs to the section "Organelle Function".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Maurice Ptito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
2. Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, The Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Interests: visual system; retina; lateral geniculate nucleus; endocannabinoids; blindness; humans; monkeys; histology; immunohistochemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Joseph Bouskila
E-Mail
Guest Editor
School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Interests: visual system; retina; lateral geniculate nucleus; endocannabinoids; electroretinogram; monkeys; histology; immunohistochemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Vision is the most important sense in higher mammals. The retina is the first step in visual processing, and the window to the brain. It is not surprising that problems arising in the retina would lead to moderate to severe visual impairments. According to the World Health Organization, 1.2 billion people suffer from visual impairments and blindness. Moreover, people live longer, and many retinal diseases become more frequent. New advances in retina research offer hope to cure many of these illnesses. For example, in recent years, the endocannabinoid system, present in the retina, has become an interesting therapeutic target. Other new approaches (e.g., stem cell therapy) and technological advances (e.g., retinal implants) are underway to cure these diseases. Of course, to understand pathology, one must know about the normal retina. In this issue, we would like to present up-to-date advances on the healthy retina (e.g., anatomy, physiology, molecular biology), as well as common retinal diseases and pharmacological treatments.

Prof. Maurice Ptito
Dr. Joseph Bouskila
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

Potential topics include but are not limited to:
  • Normal retinal development in animal and human models
  • Functionals aspects: physiology and perception (color and form perception, single unit physiology and electroretinography)
  • From photoreceptors to vision and perception
  • The endocannabinoid system in the normal retina: expression, localization, and function
  • Role of the endocannabinoid system in development
  • Retinal genetics
  • Retinal pathologies: AMD, glaucoma, neurovascular diseases, color blindness, genetic diseases (Lieber Amaurosis), perceptual anomalies, illusions, hallucinations (Charles Bonnet syndrome).

Published Papers (29 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
The Retina: A Window into the Brain
Cells 2021, 10(12), 3269; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10123269 - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 242
Abstract
In the course of evolution, animals have obtained the capacity to perceive and encode their environment via the development of sensory systems such as touch, olfaction, audition, and vision [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Article
Differential Responses of Neural Retina Progenitor Populations to Chronic Hyperglycemia
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3265; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113265 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Diabetic retinopathy is a frequent complication of longstanding diabetes, which comprises a complex interplay of microvascular abnormalities and neurodegeneration. Zebrafish harboring a homozygous mutation in the pancreatic transcription factor pdx1 display a diabetic phenotype with survival into adulthood, and are therefore uniquely suitable [...] Read more.
Diabetic retinopathy is a frequent complication of longstanding diabetes, which comprises a complex interplay of microvascular abnormalities and neurodegeneration. Zebrafish harboring a homozygous mutation in the pancreatic transcription factor pdx1 display a diabetic phenotype with survival into adulthood, and are therefore uniquely suitable among zebrafish models for studying pathologies associated with persistent diabetic conditions. We have previously shown that, starting at three months of age, pdx1 mutants exhibit not only vascular but also neuro-retinal pathologies manifesting as photoreceptor dysfunction and loss, similar to human diabetic retinopathy. Here, we further characterize injury and regenerative responses and examine the effects on progenitor cell populations. Consistent with a negative impact of hyperglycemia on neurogenesis, stem cells of the ciliary marginal zone show an exacerbation of aging-related proliferative decline. In contrast to the robust Müller glial cell proliferation seen following acute retinal injury, the pdx1 mutant shows replenishment of both rod and cone photoreceptors from slow-cycling, neurod-expressing progenitors which first accumulate in the inner nuclear layer. Overall, we demonstrate a diabetic retinopathy model which shows pathological features of the human disease evolving alongside an ongoing restorative process that replaces lost photoreceptors, at the same time suggesting an unappreciated phenotypic continuum between multipotent and photoreceptor-committed progenitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Retinal Protection from LED-Backlit Screen Lights by Short Wavelength Absorption Filters
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3248; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113248 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 283
Abstract
(1) Background: Ocular exposure to intense light or long-time exposure to low-intensity short-wavelength lights may cause eye injury. Excessive levels of blue light induce photochemical damage to the retinal pigment and degeneration of photoreceptors of the outer segments. Currently, people spend a lot [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Ocular exposure to intense light or long-time exposure to low-intensity short-wavelength lights may cause eye injury. Excessive levels of blue light induce photochemical damage to the retinal pigment and degeneration of photoreceptors of the outer segments. Currently, people spend a lot of time watching LED screens that emit high proportions of blue light. This study aims to assess the effects of light emitted by LED tablet screens on pigmented rat retinas with and without optical filters. (2) Methods: Commercially available tablets were used for exposure experiments on three groups of rats. One was exposed to tablet screens, the other was exposed to the tablet screens with a selective filter and the other was a control group. Structure, gene expression (including life/death, extracellular matrix degradation, growth factors, and oxidative stress related genes), and immunohistochemistry in the retina were compared among groups. (3) Results: There was a reduction of the thickness of the external nuclear layer and changes in the genes involved in cell survival and death, extracellular matrix turnover, growth factors, inflammation, and oxidative stress, leading decrease in cell density and retinal damage in the first group. Modulation of gene changes was observed when the LED light of screens was modified with an optical filter. (4) Conclusions: The use of short-wavelength selective filters on the screens contribute to reduce LED light-induced damage in the rat retina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Annexin A1 Mimetic Peptide and Piperlongumine: Anti-Inflammatory Profiles in Endotoxin-Induced Uveitis
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3170; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113170 - 15 Nov 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
Uveitis is one of the main causes of blindness worldwide, and therapeutic alternatives are worthy of study. We investigated the effects of piperlongumine (PL) and/or annexin A1 (AnxA1) mimetic peptide Ac2-26 on endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU). Rats were inoculated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and intraperitoneally [...] Read more.
Uveitis is one of the main causes of blindness worldwide, and therapeutic alternatives are worthy of study. We investigated the effects of piperlongumine (PL) and/or annexin A1 (AnxA1) mimetic peptide Ac2-26 on endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU). Rats were inoculated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and intraperitoneally treated with Ac2-26 (200 µg), PL (200 and 400 µg), or Ac2-26 + PL after 15 min. Then, 24 h after LPS inoculation, leukocytes in aqueous humor, mononuclear cells, AnxA1, formyl peptide receptor (fpr)1, fpr2, and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 were evaluated in the ocular tissues, along with inflammatory mediators in the blood and macerated supernatant. Decreased leukocyte influx, levels of inflammatory mediators, and COX-2 expression confirmed the anti-inflammatory actions of the peptide and pointed to the protective effects of PL at higher dosage. However, when PL and Ac2-26 were administered in combination, the inflammatory potential was lost. AnxA1 expression was elevated among groups treated with PL or Ac2-26 + PL but reduced after treatment with Ac2-26. Fpr2 expression was increased only in untreated EIU and Ac2-26 groups. The interaction between Ac2-26 and PL negatively affected the anti-inflammatory action of Ac2-26 or PL. We emphasize that the anti-inflammatory effects of PL can be used as a therapeutic strategy to protect against uveitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Mesenchymal Stem Cell Induced Foxp3(+) Tregs Suppress Effector T Cells and Protect against Retinal Ischemic Injury
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3006; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113006 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 460
Abstract
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) are well known for immunomodulation; however, the mechanisms involved in their benefits in the ischemic retina are unknown. This study tested the hypothesis that MSC induces upregulation of transcription factor forkhead box protein P3 (Foxp3) in T cells to [...] Read more.
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) are well known for immunomodulation; however, the mechanisms involved in their benefits in the ischemic retina are unknown. This study tested the hypothesis that MSC induces upregulation of transcription factor forkhead box protein P3 (Foxp3) in T cells to elicit immune modulation, and thus, protect against retinal damage. Induced MSCs (iMSCs) were generated by differentiating the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) derived from urinary epithelial cells through a noninsertional reprogramming approach. In in-vitro cultures, iMSC transferred mitochondria to immune cells via F-actin nanotubes significantly increased oxygen consumption rate (OCR) for basal respiration and ATP production, suppressed effector T cells, and promoted differentiation of CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) in coculture with mouse splenocytes. In in-vivo studies, iMSCs transplanted in ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injured eye significantly increased Foxp3+ Tregs in the retina compared to that of saline-injected I/R eyes. Furthermore, iMSC injected I/R eyes significantly decreased retinal inflammation as evidenced by reduced gene expression of IL1β, VCAM1, LAMA5, and CCL2 and improved b-wave amplitudes compared to that of saline-injected I/R eyes. Our study demonstrates that iMSCs can transfer mitochondria to immune cells to suppress the effector T cell population. Additionally, our current data indicate that iMSC can enhance differentiation of T cells into Foxp3 Tregs in vitro and therapeutically improve the retina’s immune function by upregulation of Tregs to decrease inflammation and reduce I/R injury-induced retinal degeneration in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Long-Term Transplant Effects of iPSC-RPE Monolayer in Immunodeficient RCS Rats
Cells 2021, 10(11), 2951; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10112951 - 29 Oct 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) replacement therapy is evolving as a feasible approach to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In many preclinical studies, RPE cells are transplanted as a cell suspension into immunosuppressed animal eyes and transplant effects have been monitored only short-term. We [...] Read more.
Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) replacement therapy is evolving as a feasible approach to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In many preclinical studies, RPE cells are transplanted as a cell suspension into immunosuppressed animal eyes and transplant effects have been monitored only short-term. We investigated the long-term effects of human Induced pluripotent stem-cell-derived RPE (iPSC-RPE) transplants in an immunodeficient Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat model, in which RPE dysfunction led to photoreceptor degeneration. iPSC-RPE cultured as a polarized monolayer on a nanoengineered ultrathin parylene C scaffold was transplanted into the subretinal space of 28-day-old immunodeficient RCS rat pups and evaluated after 1, 4, and 11 months. Assessment at early time points showed good iPSC-RPE survival. The transplants remained as a monolayer, expressed RPE-specific markers, performed phagocytic function, and contributed to vision preservation. At 11-months post-implantation, RPE survival was observed in only 50% of the eyes that were concomitant with vision preservation. Loss of RPE monolayer characteristics at the 11-month time point was associated with peri-membrane fibrosis, immune reaction through the activation of macrophages (CD 68 expression), and the transition of cell fate (expression of mesenchymal markers). The overall study outcome supports the therapeutic potential of RPE grafts despite the loss of some transplant benefits during long-term observations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Neuroprotective Effects of Fingolimod in a Cellular Model of Optic Neuritis
Cells 2021, 10(11), 2938; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10112938 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Visual dysfunction resulting from optic neuritis (ON) is one of the most common clinical manifestations of multiple sclerosis (MS), characterized by loss of retinal ganglion cells, thinning of the nerve fiber layer, and inflammation to the optic nerve. Current treatments available for ON [...] Read more.
Visual dysfunction resulting from optic neuritis (ON) is one of the most common clinical manifestations of multiple sclerosis (MS), characterized by loss of retinal ganglion cells, thinning of the nerve fiber layer, and inflammation to the optic nerve. Current treatments available for ON or MS are only partially effective, specifically target the inflammatory phase, and have limited effects on long-term disability. Fingolimod (FTY) is an FDA-approved immunomodulatory agent for MS therapy. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of FTY in the cellular model of ON-associated neuronal damage. R28 retinal neuronal cell damage was induced through treatment with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα). In our cell viability analysis, FTY treatment showed significantly reduced TNFα-induced neuronal death. Treatment with FTY attenuated the TNFα-induced changes in cell survival and cell stress signaling molecules. Furthermore, immunofluorescence studies performed using various markers indicated that FTY treatment protects the R28 cells against the TNFα-induced neurodegenerative changes by suppressing reactive oxygen species generation and promoting the expression of neuronal markers. In conclusion, our study suggests neuroprotective effects of FTY in an in vitro model of optic neuritis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Retinal Venular Tortuosity Jointly with Retinal Amyloid Burden Correlates with Verbal Memory Loss: A Pilot Study
Cells 2021, 10(11), 2926; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10112926 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 503
Abstract
Introduction: Retinal imaging is a non-invasive tool to study both retinal vasculature and neurodegeneration. In this exploratory retinal curcumin-fluorescence imaging (RFI) study, we sought to determine whether retinal vascular features combined with retinal amyloid burden correlate with the neurocognitive status. Methods: We used [...] Read more.
Introduction: Retinal imaging is a non-invasive tool to study both retinal vasculature and neurodegeneration. In this exploratory retinal curcumin-fluorescence imaging (RFI) study, we sought to determine whether retinal vascular features combined with retinal amyloid burden correlate with the neurocognitive status. Methods: We used quantitative RFI in a cohort of patients with cognitive impairment to automatically compute retinal amyloid burden. Retinal blood vessels were segmented, and the vessel tortuosity index (VTI), inflection index, and branching angle were quantified. We assessed the correlations between retinal vascular and amyloid parameters, and cognitive domain Z-scores using linear regression models. Results: Thirty-four subjects were enrolled and twenty-nine (55% female, mean age 64 ± 6 years) were included in the combined retinal amyloid and vascular analysis. Eleven subjects had normal cognition and 18 had impaired cognition. Retinal VTI was discriminated among cognitive scores. The combined proximal mid-periphery amyloid count and venous VTI index exhibited significant differences between cognitively impaired and cognitively normal subjects (0.49 ± 1.1 vs. 0.91 ± 1.4, p = 0.006), and correlated with both the Wechsler Memory Scale-IV and SF-36 mental component score Z-scores (p < 0.05). Conclusion: This pilot study showed that retinal venular VTI combined with the proximal mid-periphery amyloid count could predict verbal memory loss. Future research is needed to finesse the clinical application of this retinal imaging-based technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Betulinic Acid Protects from Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in the Mouse Retina
Cells 2021, 10(9), 2440; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092440 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) events are involved in the pathophysiology of numerous ocular diseases. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that betulinic acid protects from I/R injury in the mouse retina. Ocular ischemia was induced in mice by increasing intraocular pressure [...] Read more.
Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) events are involved in the pathophysiology of numerous ocular diseases. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that betulinic acid protects from I/R injury in the mouse retina. Ocular ischemia was induced in mice by increasing intraocular pressure (IOP) to 110 mm Hg for 45 min, while the fellow eye served as a control. One group of mice received betulinic acid (50 mg/kg/day p.o. once daily) and the other group received the vehicle solution only. Eight days after the I/R event, the animals were killed and the retinal wholemounts and optic nerve cross-sections were prepared and stained with cresyl blue or toluidine blue, respectively, to count cells in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) of the retina and axons in the optic nerve. Retinal arteriole responses were measured in isolated retinas by video microscopy. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were assessed in retinal cryosections and redox gene expression was determined in isolated retinas by quantitative PCR. I/R markedly reduced cell number in the GCL and axon number in the optic nerve of the vehicle-treated mice. In contrast, only a negligible reduction in cell and axon number was observed following I/R in the betulinic acid-treated mice. Endothelial function was markedly reduced and ROS levels were increased in retinal arterioles of vehicle-exposed eyes following I/R, whereas betulinic acid partially prevented vascular endothelial dysfunction and ROS formation. Moreover, betulinic acid boosted mRNA expression for the antioxidant enzymes SOD3 and HO-1 following I/R. Our data provide evidence that betulinic acid protects from I/R injury in the mouse retina. Improvement of vascular endothelial function and the reduction in ROS levels appear to contribute to the neuroprotective effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Regional Variation of Gap Junctional Connections in the Mammalian Inner Retina
Cells 2021, 10(9), 2396; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092396 - 12 Sep 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The retinas of many species show regional specialisations that are evident in the differences in the processing of visual input from different parts of the visual field. Regional specialisation is thought to reflect an adaptation to the natural visual environment, optical constraints, and [...] Read more.
The retinas of many species show regional specialisations that are evident in the differences in the processing of visual input from different parts of the visual field. Regional specialisation is thought to reflect an adaptation to the natural visual environment, optical constraints, and lifestyle of the species. Yet, little is known about regional differences in synaptic circuitry. Here, we were interested in the topographical distribution of connexin-36 (Cx36), the major constituent of electrical synapses in the retina. We compared the retinas of mice, rats, and cats to include species with different patterns of regional specialisations in the analysis. First, we used the density of Prox1-immunoreactive amacrine cells as a marker of any regional specialisation, with higher cell density signifying more central regions. Double-labelling experiments showed that Prox1 is expressed in AII amacrine cells in all three species. Interestingly, large Cx36 plaques were attached to about 8–10% of Prox1-positive amacrine cell somata, suggesting the strong electrical coupling of pairs or small clusters of cell bodies. When analysing the regional changes in the volumetric density of Cx36-immunoreactive plaques, we found a tight correlation with the density of Prox1-expressing amacrine cells in the ON, but not in the OFF sublamina in all three species. The results suggest that the relative contribution of electrical synapses to the ON- and OFF-pathways of the retina changes with retinal location, which may contribute to functional ON/OFF asymmetries across the visual field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
High-Fat Diet Alters the Retinal Transcriptome in the Absence of Gut Microbiota
Cells 2021, 10(8), 2119; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10082119 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 735
Abstract
The relationship between retinal disease, diet, and the gut microbiome has shown increasing importance over recent years. In particular, high-fat diets (HFDs) are associated with development and progression of several retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. However, the complex, [...] Read more.
The relationship between retinal disease, diet, and the gut microbiome has shown increasing importance over recent years. In particular, high-fat diets (HFDs) are associated with development and progression of several retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. However, the complex, overlapping interactions between diet, gut microbiome, and retinal homeostasis are poorly understood. Using high-throughput RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) of whole retinas, we compare the retinal transcriptome from germ-free (GF) mice on a regular diet (ND) and HFD to investigate transcriptomic changes without influence of gut microbiome. After correction of raw data, 53 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, of which 19 were upregulated and 34 were downregulated in GF-HFD mice. Key genes involved in retinal inflammation, angiogenesis, and RPE function were identified. Enrichment analysis revealed that the top 3 biological processes affected were regulation of blood vessel diameter, inflammatory response, and negative regulation of endopeptidase. Molecular functions altered include endopeptidase inhibitor activity, protease binding, and cysteine-type endopeptidase inhibitor activity. Human and mouse pathway analysis revealed that the complement and coagulation cascades are significantly affected by HFD. This study demonstrates novel data that diet can directly modulate the retinal transcriptome independently of the gut microbiome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
High-Density EEG in a Charles Bonnet Syndrome Patient during and without Visual Hallucinations: A Case-Report Study
Cells 2021, 10(8), 1991; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10081991 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a rare clinical condition characterized by complex visual hallucinations in people with loss of vision. So far, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the hallucinations remain elusive. This case-report study aims at investigating electrical activity changes in a CBS patient [...] Read more.
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a rare clinical condition characterized by complex visual hallucinations in people with loss of vision. So far, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the hallucinations remain elusive. This case-report study aims at investigating electrical activity changes in a CBS patient during visual hallucinations, as compared to a resting-state period (without hallucinations). Prior to the EEG, the patient underwent neuropsychological, ophthalmologic, and neurological examinations. Spectral and connectivity, graph analyses and signal diversity were applied to high-density EEG data. Visual hallucinations (as compared to resting-state) were characterized by a significant reduction of power in the frontal areas, paralleled by an increase in the midline posterior regions in delta and theta bands and by an increase of alpha power in the occipital and midline posterior regions. We next observed a reduction of theta connectivity in the frontal and right posterior areas, which at a network level was complemented by a disruption of small-worldness (lower local and global efficiency) and by an increase of network modularity. Finally, we found a higher signal complexity especially when considering the frontal areas in the alpha band. The emergence of hallucinations may stem from these changes in the visual cortex and in core cortical regions encompassing both the default mode and the fronto-parietal attentional networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Early (5-Day) Onset of Diabetes Mellitus Causes Degeneration of Photoreceptor Cells, Overexpression of Incretins, and Increased Cellular Bioenergetics in Rat Retina
Cells 2021, 10(8), 1981; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10081981 - 04 Aug 2021
Viewed by 580
Abstract
The effects of early (5-day) onset of diabetes mellitus (DM) on retina ultrastructure and cellular bioenergetics were examined. The retinas of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were compared to those of non-diabetic rats using light and transmission electron microscopy. Tissue localization of glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1), exendin-4 [...] Read more.
The effects of early (5-day) onset of diabetes mellitus (DM) on retina ultrastructure and cellular bioenergetics were examined. The retinas of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were compared to those of non-diabetic rats using light and transmission electron microscopy. Tissue localization of glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1), exendin-4 (EXE-4), and catalase (CAT) in non-diabetic and diabetic rat retinas was conducted using immunohistochemistry, while the retinal and plasma concentration of GLP-1, EXE-4, and CAT were measured with ELISA. Lipid profiles and kidney and liver function markers were measured from the blood of non-diabetic and diabetic rats with an automated biochemical analyzer. Oxygen consumption was monitored using a phosphorescence analyzer, and the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level was determined using the Enliten ATP assay kit. Blood glucose and cholesterol levels were significantly higher in diabetic rats compared to control. The number of degenerated photoreceptor cells was significantly higher in the diabetic rat retina. Tissue levels of EXE-4, GLP-1 and CAT were significantly (p = 0.002) higher in diabetic rat retina compared to non-diabetic controls. Retinal cellular respiration was 50% higher (p = 0.004) in diabetic (0.53 ± 0.16 µM O2 min−1 mg−1, n = 10) than in non-diabetic rats (0.35 ± 0.07 µM O2 min−1 mg−1, n = 11). Retinal cellular ATP was 76% higher (p = 0.077) in diabetic (205 ± 113 pmol mg−1, n = 10) than in non-diabetic rats (116 ± 99 pmol mg−1, n = 12). Thus, acute (5-day) or early onslaught of diabetes-induced hyperglycemia increased incretins and antioxidant levels and oxidative phosphorylation. All of these events could transiently preserve retinal function during the early phase of the progression of diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Differential Response of Müller Cells and Microglia in a Mouse Retinal Detachment Model and Its Implications in Detached and Non-Detached Regions
Cells 2021, 10(8), 1972; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10081972 - 03 Aug 2021
Viewed by 425
Abstract
Retinal detachment (RD) is a sight-threatening condition, leading to photoreceptor cell death; however, only a few studies provide insight into its effects on the entire retinal region. We examined the spatiotemporal changes in glial responses in a mouse RD model. In electroretinography, a- [...] Read more.
Retinal detachment (RD) is a sight-threatening condition, leading to photoreceptor cell death; however, only a few studies provide insight into its effects on the entire retinal region. We examined the spatiotemporal changes in glial responses in a mouse RD model. In electroretinography, a- and b-waves were reduced in a time-dependent manner. Hematoxylin and eosin staining revealed a gradual decrease in the outer nuclear layer throughout the retinal region. Terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay showed that TUNEL-positive photoreceptors increased 5 days after RD and decreased by 14 days. Glial response was evaluated by immunohistochemistry using antibodies against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP, Müller glial marker) and Iba-1 (microglial marker) and osteopontin (OPN, activated microglial marker). GFAP immunoreactivity increased after 7 days in complete RD, and was retained for 14 days. OPN expression increased in microglial cells 3–7 days after RD, and decreased by 14 days in the detached and border regions. Although OPN was not expressed in the intact region, morphologically activated microglial cells were observed. These retinal glial cell responses and photoreceptor degeneration in the border and intact regions suggest that the effects of RD in the border and intact retinal regions need to be understood further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Participation of L-Lactate and Its Receptor HCAR1/GPR81 in Neurovisual Development
Cells 2021, 10(7), 1640; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10071640 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
During the development of the retina and the nervous system, high levels of energy are required by the axons of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to grow towards their brain targets. This energy demand leads to an increase of glycolysis and L-lactate concentrations in [...] Read more.
During the development of the retina and the nervous system, high levels of energy are required by the axons of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to grow towards their brain targets. This energy demand leads to an increase of glycolysis and L-lactate concentrations in the retina. L-lactate is known to be the endogenous ligand of the GPR81 receptor. However, the role of L-lactate and its receptor in the development of the nervous system has not been studied in depth. In the present study, we used immunohistochemistry to show that GPR81 is localized in different retinal layers during development, but is predominantly expressed in the RGC of the adult rodent. Treatment of retinal explants with L-lactate or the exogenous GPR81 agonist 3,5-DHBA altered RGC growth cone (GC) morphology (increasing in size and number of filopodia) and promoted RGC axon growth. These GPR81-mediated modifications of GC morphology and axon growth were mediated by protein kinases A and C, but were absent in explants from gpr81−/− transgenic mice. Living gpr81−/− mice showed a decrease in ipsilateral projections of RGCs to the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN). In conclusion, present results suggest that L-lactate and its receptor GPR81 play an important role in the development of the visual nervous system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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The Timecourses of Functional, Morphological, and Molecular Changes Triggered by Light Exposure in Sprague–Dawley Rat Retinas
Cells 2021, 10(6), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061561 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Retinal neurodegeneration can impair visual perception at different levels, involving not only photoreceptors, which are the most metabolically active cells, but also the inner retina. Compensatory mechanisms may hide the first signs of these impairments and reduce the likelihood of receiving timely treatments. [...] Read more.
Retinal neurodegeneration can impair visual perception at different levels, involving not only photoreceptors, which are the most metabolically active cells, but also the inner retina. Compensatory mechanisms may hide the first signs of these impairments and reduce the likelihood of receiving timely treatments. Therefore, it is essential to characterize the early critical steps in the neurodegenerative progression to design adequate therapies. This paper describes and correlates early morphological and biochemical changes in the degenerating retina with in vivo functional analysis of retinal activity and investigates the progression of neurodegenerative stages for up to 7 months. For these purposes, Sprague–Dawley rats were exposed to 1000 lux light either for different durations (12 h to 24 h) and examined seven days afterward (7d) or for a fixed duration (24 h) and monitored at various time points following the exposure (up to 210d). Flash electroretinogram (fERG) recordings were correlated with morphological and histological analyses to evaluate outer and inner retinal disruptions, gliosis, trophic factor release, and microglial activation. Twelve hours or fifteen hours of exposure to constant light led to a severe retinal dysfunction with only minor morphological changes. Therefore, early pathological signs might be hidden by compensatory mechanisms that silence retinal dysfunction, accounting for the discrepancy between photoreceptor loss and retinal functional output. The long-term analysis showed a transient functional recovery, maximum at 45 days, despite a progressive loss of photoreceptors and coincident increases in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and basic fibroblast growth factor-2 (bFGF-2) expression. Interestingly, the progression of the disease presented different patterns in the dorsal and ventral retina. The information acquired gives us the potential to develop a specific diagnostic tool to monitor the disease’s progression and treatment efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Reduced Levels of Drp1 Protect against Development of Retinal Vascular Lesions in Diabetic Retinopathy
Cells 2021, 10(6), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061379 - 03 Jun 2021
Viewed by 739
Abstract
High glucose (HG)-induced Drp1 overexpression contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and promotes apoptosis in retinal endothelial cells. However, it is unknown whether inhibiting Drp1 overexpression protects against the development of retinal vascular cell loss in diabetes. To investigate whether reduced Drp1 level is protective [...] Read more.
High glucose (HG)-induced Drp1 overexpression contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and promotes apoptosis in retinal endothelial cells. However, it is unknown whether inhibiting Drp1 overexpression protects against the development of retinal vascular cell loss in diabetes. To investigate whether reduced Drp1 level is protective against diabetes-induced retinal vascular lesions, four groups of mice: wild type (WT) control mice, streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice, Drp1+/− mice, and STZ-induced diabetic Drp1+/− mice were examined after 16 weeks of diabetes. Western Blot analysis indicated a significant increase in Drp1 expression in the diabetic retinas compared to those of WT mice; retinas of diabetic Drp1+/− mice showed reduced Drp1 level compared to those of diabetic mice. A significant increase in the number of acellular capillaries (AC) and pericyte loss (PL) was observed in the retinas of diabetic mice compared to those of the WT control mice. Importantly, a significant decrease in the number of AC and PL was observed in retinas of diabetic Drp1+/− mice compared to those of diabetic mice concomitant with increased expression of pro-apoptotic genes, Bax, cleaved PARP, and increased cleaved caspase-3 activity. Preventing diabetes-induced Drp1 overexpression may have protective effects against the development of vascular lesions, characteristic of diabetic retinopathy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Loss of Motor Protein MYO1C Causes Rhodopsin Mislocalization and Results in Impaired Visual Function
Cells 2021, 10(6), 1322; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061322 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 800
Abstract
Unconventional myosins, linked to deafness, are also proposed to play a role in retinal cell physiology. However, their direct role in photoreceptor function remains unclear. We demonstrate that systemic loss of the unconventional myosin MYO1C in mice, specifically causes rhodopsin mislocalization, leading to [...] Read more.
Unconventional myosins, linked to deafness, are also proposed to play a role in retinal cell physiology. However, their direct role in photoreceptor function remains unclear. We demonstrate that systemic loss of the unconventional myosin MYO1C in mice, specifically causes rhodopsin mislocalization, leading to impaired visual function. Electroretinogram analysis of Myo1c knockout (Myo1c-KO) mice showed a progressive loss of photoreceptor function. Immunohistochemistry and binding assays demonstrated MYO1C localization to photoreceptor inner and outer segments (OS) and identified a direct interaction of rhodopsin with MYO1C. In Myo1c-KO retinas, rhodopsin mislocalized to rod inner segments (IS) and cell bodies, while cone opsins in OS showed punctate staining. In aged mice, the histological and ultrastructural examination of the phenotype of Myo1c-KO retinas showed progressively shorter photoreceptor OS. These results demonstrate that MYO1C is important for rhodopsin localization to the photoreceptor OS, and for normal visual function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Expression of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Marker GRP78 in the Normal Retina and Retinal Degeneration Induced by Blue LED Stimuli in Mice
Cells 2021, 10(5), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10050995 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Retinal degeneration is a leading cause of blindness. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response that affects cell survival and death and GRP78 forms a representative protective response. We aimed to determine the exact localization of GRP78 in [...] Read more.
Retinal degeneration is a leading cause of blindness. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response that affects cell survival and death and GRP78 forms a representative protective response. We aimed to determine the exact localization of GRP78 in an animal model of light-induced retinal degeneration. Dark-adapted mice were exposed to blue light-emitting diodes and retinas were obtained at 24 h and 72 h after exposure. In the normal retina, we found that GRP78 was rarely detected in the photoreceptor cells while it was expressed in the perinuclear space of the cell bodies in the inner nuclear and ganglion cell layers. After injury, the expression of GRP78 in the outer nuclear and inner plexiform layers increased in a time-dependent manner. However, an increased GRP78 expression was not observed in damaged photoreceptor cells in the outer nuclear layer. GRP78 was located in the perinuclear space and ER lumen of glial cells and the ER developed in glial cells during retinal degeneration. These findings suggest that GRP78 and the ER response are important for glial cell activation in the retina during photoreceptor degeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Anti-VEGF Drugs Influence Epigenetic Regulation and AMD-Specific Molecular Markers in ARPE-19 Cells
Cells 2021, 10(4), 878; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10040878 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 738
Abstract
Our study assesses the effects of anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) drugs and Trichostatin A (TSA), an inhibitor of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, on cultured ARPE-19 (Adult Retinal Pigment Epithelial-19) cells that are immortalized human retinal pigment epithelial cells. ARPE-19 cells were treated [...] Read more.
Our study assesses the effects of anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) drugs and Trichostatin A (TSA), an inhibitor of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, on cultured ARPE-19 (Adult Retinal Pigment Epithelial-19) cells that are immortalized human retinal pigment epithelial cells. ARPE-19 cells were treated with the following anti-VEGF drugs: aflibercept, ranibizumab, or bevacizumab at 1× and 2× concentrations of the clinical intravitreal dose (12.5 μL/mL and 25 μL/mL, respectively) and analyzed for transcription profiles of genes associated with the pathogenesis age-related macular degeneration (AMD). HDAC activity was measured using the Fluorometric Histone Deacetylase assay. TSA downregulated HIF-1α and IL-1β genes, and upregulated BCL2L13, CASPASE-9, and IL-18 genes. TSA alone or bevacizumab plus TSA showed a significant reduction of HDAC activity compared to untreated ARPE-19 cells. Bevacizumab alone did not significantly alter HDAC activity, but increased gene expression of SOD2, BCL2L13, CASPASE-3, and IL-18 and caused downregulation of HIF-1α and IL-18. Combination of bevacizumab plus TSA increased gene expression of SOD2, HIF-1α, GPX3A, BCL2L13, and CASPASE-3, and reduced CASPASE-9 and IL-β. In conclusion, we demonstrated that anti-VEGF drugs can: (1) alter expression of genes involved in oxidative stress (GPX3A and SOD2), inflammation (IL-18 and IL-1β) and apoptosis (BCL2L13, CASPASE-3, and CASPASE-9), and (2) TSA-induced deacetylation altered transcription for angiogenesis (HIF-1α), apoptosis, and inflammation genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Quantitative Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCTA) Parameters in a Black Diabetic Population and Correlations with Systemic Diseases
Cells 2021, 10(3), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10030551 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 635
Abstract
This is a cross-sectional, prospective study of a population of black diabetic participants without diabetic retinopathy aimed to investigate optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) characteristics and correlations with systemic diseases in this population. These parameters could serve as novel biomarkers for microvascular complications; [...] Read more.
This is a cross-sectional, prospective study of a population of black diabetic participants without diabetic retinopathy aimed to investigate optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) characteristics and correlations with systemic diseases in this population. These parameters could serve as novel biomarkers for microvascular complications; especially in black populations which are more vulnerable to diabetic microvascular complications. Linear mixed models were used to obtain OCTA mean values ± standard deviation and analyze statistical correlations to systemic diseases. Variables showing significance on univariate mixed model analysis were further analyzed with multivariate mixed models. 92 eyes of 52 black adult subjects were included. After multivariate analysis; signal strength intensity (SSI) and heart disease had statistical correlations to superficial capillary plexus vessel density in our population. SSI and smoking status had statistical correlations to deep capillary plexus vessel density in a univariate analysis that persisted in part of the imaging subset in a multivariate analysis. Hyperlipidemia; hypertension; smoking status and pack-years; diabetes duration; creatinine; glomerular filtration rate; total cholesterol; hemoglobin A1C; and albumin-to-creatinine ratio were not significantly associated with any OCTA measurement in multivariate analysis. Our findings suggest that OCTA measures may serve as valuable biomarkers to track systemic vascular functioning in diabetes mellitus in black patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Analysis of Programmed Cell Death and Senescence Markers in the Developing Retina of an Altricial Bird Species
Cells 2021, 10(3), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10030504 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
This study shows the distribution patterns of apoptotic cells and biomarkers of cellular senescence during the ontogeny of the retina in the zebra finch (T. guttata). Neurogenesis in this altricial bird species is intense in the retina at perinatal and post-hatching [...] Read more.
This study shows the distribution patterns of apoptotic cells and biomarkers of cellular senescence during the ontogeny of the retina in the zebra finch (T. guttata). Neurogenesis in this altricial bird species is intense in the retina at perinatal and post-hatching stages, as opposed to precocial bird species in which retinogenesis occurs entirely during the embryonic period. Various phases of programmed cell death (PCD) were distinguishable in the T. guttata visual system. These included areas of PCD in the central region of the neuroretina at the stages of optic cup morphogenesis, and in the sub-optic necrotic centers (St15–St20). A small focus of early neural PCD was detected in the neuroblastic layer, dorsal to the optic nerve head, coinciding with the appearance of the first differentiated neuroblasts (St24–St25). There were sparse pyknotic bodies in the non-laminated retina between St26 and St37. An intense wave of neurotrophic PCD was detected in the laminated retina between St42 and P8, the last post-hatching stage included in the present study. PCD was absent from the photoreceptor layer. Phagocytic activity was also detected in Müller cells during the wave of neurotrophic PCD. With regard to the chronotopographical staining patterns of senescence biomarkers, there was strong parallelism between the SA-β-GAL signal and p21 immunoreactivity in both the undifferentiated and the laminated retina, coinciding in the cell body of differentiated neurons. In contrast, no correlation was found between SA-β-GAL activity and the distribution of TUNEL-positive cells in the developing tissue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Article
Autophagy Involvement in the Postnatal Development of the Rat Retina
Cells 2021, 10(1), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10010177 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1038
Abstract
During retinal development, a physiologic hypoxia stimulates endothelial cell proliferation. The hypoxic milieu warrants retina vascularization and promotes the activation of several mechanisms aimed to ensure homeostasis and energy balance of both endothelial and retinal cells. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic system [...] Read more.
During retinal development, a physiologic hypoxia stimulates endothelial cell proliferation. The hypoxic milieu warrants retina vascularization and promotes the activation of several mechanisms aimed to ensure homeostasis and energy balance of both endothelial and retinal cells. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic system that contributes to cellular adaptation to a variety of environmental changes and stresses. In association with the physiologic hypoxia, autophagy plays a crucial role during development. Autophagy expression profile was evaluated in the developing retina from birth to post-natal day 18 of rat pups, using qPCR, western blotting and immunostaining methodologies. The rat post-partum developing retina displayed increased active autophagy during the first postnatal days, correlating to the hypoxic phase. In latter stages of development, rat retinal autophagy decreases, reaching a normalization between post-natal days 14-18, when the retina is fully vascularized and mature. Collectively, the present study elaborates on the link between hypoxia and autophagy, and contributes to further elucidate the role of autophagy during retinal development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Review
The Vertical and Horizontal Pathways in the Monkey Retina Are Modulated by Typical and Atypical Cannabinoid Receptors
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3160; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113160 - 13 Nov 2021
Viewed by 345
Abstract
The endocannabinoid (eCB) system has been found in all visual parts of the central ner-vous system and plays a role in the processing of visual information in many species, including monkeys and humans. Using anatomical methods, cannabinoid receptors are present in the monkey [...] Read more.
The endocannabinoid (eCB) system has been found in all visual parts of the central ner-vous system and plays a role in the processing of visual information in many species, including monkeys and humans. Using anatomical methods, cannabinoid receptors are present in the monkey retina, particularly in the vertical glutamatergic pathway, and also in the horizontal GABAergic pathway. Modulating the eCB system regulates normal retinal function as demonstrated by electrophysiological recordings. The characterization of the expression patterns of all types of cannabinoid receptors in the retina is progressing, and further research is needed to elucidate their exact role in processing visual information. Typical cannabinoid receptors include G-protein coupled receptor CB1R and CB2R, and atypical cannabinoid receptors include the G-protein coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) and the ion channel transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1). This review focuses on the expression and localization studies carried out in monkeys, but some data on other animal species and humans will also be reported. Furthermore, the role of the endogenous cannabinoid receptors in retinal function will also be presented using intraocular injections of known modulators (agonists and antagonists) on electroretinographic patterns in monkeys. The effects of the natural bioactive lipid lysophosphatidylglucoside and synthetic FAAH inhibitor URB597 on retinal function, will also be described. Finally, the potential of typical and atypical cannabinoid receptor acti-vity regulation in retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa will be briefly explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Review
Kinins and Their Receptors as Potential Therapeutic Targets in Retinal Pathologies
Cells 2021, 10(8), 1913; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10081913 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
The kallikrein-kinin system (KKS) contributes to retinal inflammation and neovascularization, notably in diabetic retinopathy (DR) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Bradykinin type 1 (B1R) and type 2 (B2R) receptors are G-protein-coupled receptors that sense and mediate the effects of kinins. While B2R [...] Read more.
The kallikrein-kinin system (KKS) contributes to retinal inflammation and neovascularization, notably in diabetic retinopathy (DR) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Bradykinin type 1 (B1R) and type 2 (B2R) receptors are G-protein-coupled receptors that sense and mediate the effects of kinins. While B2R is constitutively expressed and regulates a plethora of physiological processes, B1R is almost undetectable under physiological conditions and contributes to pathological inflammation. Several KKS components (kininogens, tissue and plasma kallikreins, and kinin receptors) are overexpressed in human and animal models of retinal diseases, and their inhibition, particularly B1R, reduces inflammation and pathological neovascularization. In this review, we provide an overview of the KKS with emphasis on kinin receptors in the healthy retina and their detrimental roles in DR and AMD. We highlight the crosstalk between the KKS and the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), which is known to be detrimental in ocular pathologies. Targeting the KKS, particularly the B1R, is a promising therapy in retinal diseases, and B1R may represent an effector of the detrimental effects of RAS (Ang II-AT1R). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Review
Retinal and Brain Microglia in Multiple Sclerosis and Neurodegeneration
Cells 2021, 10(6), 1507; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061507 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1138
Abstract
Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), including the retina. Similar to brain microglia, retinal microglia are responsible for retinal surveillance, rapidly responding to changes in the environment by altering morphotype and function. Microglia become activated in inflammatory [...] Read more.
Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), including the retina. Similar to brain microglia, retinal microglia are responsible for retinal surveillance, rapidly responding to changes in the environment by altering morphotype and function. Microglia become activated in inflammatory responses in neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). When activated by stress stimuli, retinal microglia change their morphology and activity, with either beneficial or harmful consequences. In this review, we describe characteristics of CNS microglia, including those in the retina, with a focus on their morphology, activation states and function in health, ageing, MS and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, to highlight their activity in disease. We also discuss contradictory findings in the literature and the potential ways of reducing inconsistencies in future by using standardised methodology, e.g., automated algorithms, to enable a more comprehensive understanding of this exciting area of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Review
Harnessing Astrocytes and Müller Glial Cells in the Retina for Survival and Regeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cells
Cells 2021, 10(6), 1339; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061339 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
Astrocytes have been associated with the failure of axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS), as it undergoes reactive gliosis in response to damages to the CNS and functions as a chemical and physical barrier to axon regeneration. However, beneficial roles of [...] Read more.
Astrocytes have been associated with the failure of axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS), as it undergoes reactive gliosis in response to damages to the CNS and functions as a chemical and physical barrier to axon regeneration. However, beneficial roles of astrocytes have been extensively studied in the spinal cord over the years, and a growing body of evidence now suggests that inducing astrocytes to become more growth-supportive can promote axon regeneration after spinal cord injury (SCI). In retina, astrocytes and Müller cells are known to undergo reactive gliosis after damage to retina and/or optic nerve and are hypothesized to be either detrimental or beneficial to survival and axon regeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Whether they can be induced to become more growth-supportive after retinal and optic nerve injury has yet to be determined. In this review, we pinpoint the potential molecular pathways involved in the induction of growth-supportive astrocytes in the spinal cord and suggest that stimulating the activation of these pathways in the retina could represent a new therapeutic approach to promoting survival and axon regeneration of RGCs in retinal degenerative diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Review
Advancing Diabetic Retinopathy Research: Analysis of the Neurovascular Unit in Zebrafish
Cells 2021, 10(6), 1313; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061313 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 997
Abstract
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most important microvascular complications associated with diabetes mellitus, and a leading cause of vision loss or blindness worldwide. Hyperglycaemic conditions disrupt microvascular integrity at the level of the neurovascular unit. In recent years, zebrafish (Danio rerio) have [...] Read more.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most important microvascular complications associated with diabetes mellitus, and a leading cause of vision loss or blindness worldwide. Hyperglycaemic conditions disrupt microvascular integrity at the level of the neurovascular unit. In recent years, zebrafish (Danio rerio) have come into focus as a model organism for various metabolic diseases such as diabetes. In both mammals and vertebrates, the anatomy and the function of the retina and the neurovascular unit have been highly conserved. In this review, we focus on the advances that have been made through studying pathologies associated with retinopathy in zebrafish models of diabetes. We discuss the different cell types that form the neurovascular unit, their role in diabetic retinopathy and how to study them in zebrafish. We then present new insights gained through zebrafish studies. The advantages of using zebrafish for diabetic retinopathy are summarised, including the fact that the zebrafish has, so far, provided the only animal model in which hyperglycaemia-induced retinal angiogenesis can be observed. Based on currently available data, we propose potential investigations that could advance the field further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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Review
Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Therapy for Retinal Degenerative Diseases: Experimental Models and Clinical Trials
Cells 2021, 10(3), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10030588 - 07 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
Retinal degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, represent the main causes of a decreased quality of vision or even blindness worldwide. However, despite considerable efforts, the treatment possibilities for these disorders remain very limited. A perspective [...] Read more.
Retinal degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, represent the main causes of a decreased quality of vision or even blindness worldwide. However, despite considerable efforts, the treatment possibilities for these disorders remain very limited. A perspective is offered by cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cells can be obtained from the bone marrow or adipose tissue of a particular patient, expanded in vitro and used as the autologous cells. MSCs possess potent immunoregulatory properties and can inhibit a harmful inflammatory reaction in the diseased retina. By the production of numerous growth and neurotrophic factors, they support the survival and growth of retinal cells. In addition, MSCs can protect retinal cells by antiapoptotic properties and could contribute to the regeneration of the diseased retina by their ability to differentiate into various cell types, including the cells of the retina. All of these properties indicate the potential of MSCs for the therapy of diseased retinas. This view is supported by the recent results of numerous experimental studies in different preclinical models. Here we provide an overview of the therapeutic properties of MSCs, and their use in experimental models of retinal diseases and in clinical trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Retina in Health and Disease)
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