Vulnerability of AII Amacrine Cells in Oxygen-induced Retinopathy
The retina is a patchwork of many different specialized neurons that all work together to pass visual stimuli to the brain for interpretation. These cells include the rod and cone photoreceptors and different classes of horizontal cells, bipolar cells, amacrine cells, and ganglion cells. Of all these neurons, this study focuses largely on the rod pathway consisting of rods, cones, rod bipolar cells, and AII amacrine cells. The AII amacrine cell is an interneuron that is vital to the passing of visual signals from the rod photoreceptor along to the brain, contributing to vision in low-light conditions. However, it is unclear how AII amacrine cells and other retinal neurons in the rod pathway are altered in oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). OIR is a model used in animals that replicates the disease retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that is seen in premature human infants. In this study we found that AII amacrine cells were substantially lost in OIR. However, the number of rod bipolar cells remained unchanged during OIR. These results suggest that the loss of AII amacrine cells in OIR could prove to be a crucial part of the cellular mechanism responsible for the loss of scotopic vision (night vision) seen in ROP patients.
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