Undersized Dendritic Arborizations in Retinal Ganglion Cells of the rd1 Mutant Mouse: A Paradigm of Early Onset Photoreceptor Degeneration

This paper by Devid Damiani, Elena Novelli, Francesca Mazzoni and Enrica Strettoi documents continued negative plasticity in retina by examining ganglion cells in the rd1 mouse.  The rd1 mouse is one of many models of retinal degenerative disease, in this case as an autosomal recessive retinal degenerative disease.  This work gets at the remodeling issue in retinal degenerative diseaseby examining the last cells in the chain of retinal cells that process information before sending it out to the brain and other CNS centers for further processing.  

What Enrica and her team found was preservation of ganglion cells late into the degenerative disease process, but 50% of cells demonstrated altered dendritic branching or trees that covered much less area than normal.  These results are found in both adult and young mice in the rd1 model suggesting that a developmental abnormality may be involved, but the paper does attempt to start getting at the issues of plasticity in neural degenerative diseases.  As such its a notable effort that needs further work in additional models of retinal degeneration.

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