Different functional susceptibilities of mouse retinal ganglion cell subtypes to optic nerve crush injury

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Abstract

In optic neuropathies, the progressive deterioration of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) function leads to irreversible vision loss. Increasing experimental evidence suggests differing susceptibility for RGC functional subtypes. Here with multi-electrode array recordings, RGC functional loss was characterized at multiple time points in a mouse model of optic nerve crush. Firing rate, latency of response and receptive field size were analyzed for ON, OFF and ON-OFF RGCs separately. It was observed that responses and receptive fields of OFF cells were impaired earlier than ON cells after the injury. For the ON-OFF cells, the OFF component of response was also more susceptible to optic nerve injury than the ON component. Moreover, more ON transient cells survived than ON sustained cells post the crush, implying a diversified vulnerability for ON cells. Together, these data support the contention that RGCs’ functional degeneration in optic nerve injury is subtype dependent, a fact that needs to be considered when developing treatments of glaucomatous retinal ganglion cell degeneration and other optic neuropathies.

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