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Cell transplant restores vision in rats

Study represents step forward in combating age -- and disease-related vision loss

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: Figure 3A) PKCα is a marker of rod bipolar cells and labels both the host (hPAP-, red) and donor (hPAP+, green) tissue. Donor bipolar cells (yellow) surround photoreceptor rosettes (white... view more 

Credit: Foik et al., JNeurosci (2018)

Sheets of fetal cells integrate into the retina and generate nearly normal visual activity in the brains of blind rats, reports new research published in JNeurosci.

Degeneration of the retina as a result of age or progressive eye disease damages the light-detecting cells necessary for accurate vision. Current treatments can only help protect existing cells from further damage and are ineffective during late stages of disease once these cells are gone. Retinal sheet transplants have been demonstrated in prior animal and human studies, but their ability to restore complex vision has not yet been assessed.

Measuring the response of neurons in the primary visual cortex, David Lyon and colleagues demonstrate rats with severe retinal degeneration that received donor cells became sensitive to various attributes of visual stimuli, including size, orientation, and contrast, as early as three months following surgery. The study represents an important step forward in combating age- and disease-related vision loss in human adults.

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Article: Detailed visual cortical responses generated by retinal sheet transplants in rats with severe retinal degeneration
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1279-18.2018
Corresponding author: David Lyon (University of California, Irvine, USA), dclyon@uci.edu

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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