Retinal remodeling

Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2012 Jul;56(4):289-306. doi: 10.1007/s10384-012-0147-2. Epub 2012 May 30.


Retinal photoreceptor degeneration takes many forms. Mutations in rhodopsin genes or disorders of the retinal pigment epithelium, defects in the adenosine triphosphate binding cassette transporter, ABCR gene defects, receptor tyrosine kinase defects, ciliopathies and transport defects, defects in both transducin and arrestin, defects in rod cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate phosphodiesterase, peripherin defects, defects in metabotropic glutamate receptors, synthetic enzymatic defects, defects in genes associated with signaling, and many more can all result in retinal degenerative disease like retinitis pigmentosa (RP) or RP-like disorders. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and AMD-like disorders are possibly due to a constellation of potential gene targets and gene/gene interactions, while other defects result in diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. However, all of these insults as well as traumatic insults to the retina result in retinal remodeling. Retinal remodeling is a universal finding subsequent to retinal degenerative disease that results in deafferentation of the neural retina from photoreceptor input as downstream neuronal elements respond to loss of input with negative plasticity. This negative plasticity is not passive in the face of photoreceptor degeneration, with a phased revision of retinal structure and function found at the molecular, synaptic, cell, and tissue levels involving all cell classes in the retina, including neurons and glia. Retinal remodeling has direct implications for the rescue of vision loss through bionic or biological approaches, as circuit revision in the retina corrupts any potential surrogate photoreceptor input to a remnant neural retina. However, there are a number of potential opportunities for intervention that are revealed through the study of retinal remodeling, including therapies that are designed to slow down photoreceptor loss, interventions that are designed to limit or arrest remodeling events, and optogenetic approaches that target appropriate classes of neurons in the remnant neural retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / physiology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Retinal Neurons / physiology*