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Journal of Comparative Neurology: Retinal Remodeling Triggered by Photoreceptor Degenerations

JCN cover 2003

Just published an article in The Journal of Comparative Neurology. This article, Retinal Remodeling Triggered by Photoreceptor Degenerations is the final third of my dissertation and represents a comprehensive analysis of late-stage retinal degenerative disease in human and 14 naturally occurring and engineered animal models. Essentially it shows that retinal remodeling is a common theme in retinal degenerative disease and regardless of the initial cause of disease, the final common pathway is the same; Retinas respond to deafferentation by migrating and likely rewiring their circuitries in response to lost input. This has huge implications for rescue of vision loss with bionic or biological means. We are not slamming the door on any approach to rescue. Rather all we are saying is that the problem is harder than initially thought and we have some biology to understand before jumping into implanting bionics or introducing biologicals into the eye of human patients.

With this paper, we hope to really pin down the people who are not understanding the importance of retinal remodeling and demonstrate to them that it is a fact that is exists and will have to be dealt with. I’ve presented this work at ARVO now for two years and essentially have been ignored, with the exception of a very cool presentation at the 2002 ARVO where I made an animation of a degenerating retina derived from data I analyzed and showed it as part of my talk. As soon as 400 or so of the world’s vision researchers saw the animation, they got it and a murmur spread through the huge room. At that point, I *knew* that there had been an impact and that some people at least were grasping the implications. That was also a lesson to me of the importance of communication and delivering the right kind of message to the appropriate audience and I hope that this paper will serve to formalize that message in the literature.


Categories: Literature-Publications, Science, Ultrastructure.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] image of a remodeling retina comes from a previous cover of a manuscript we published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology back in 2003.  I’m digging out some old imagery for a chapter I am writing in Webvision and […]