Perspectives for the Optogenetic Prosthetization of the Retina
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Pigmented tapetoretinal degeneration (retinitis pigmentosa, RP) is one of the most severe and widespread forms of inherited retinal degeneration. The mechanisms of occurrence of RP are significantly heterogeneous and combine a whole group of diseases with different causes affecting very diverse molecular mechanisms and cell types. Various therapeutic approaches have allowed the development of disease to be delayed to different extents, though progression has not been stopped. The last decade has therefore seen progress in several methods of prosthetization, providing partial recovery of the light sensitivity of the retina. These methods are based on two different techniques. The first proposes replacement of degenerated photoreceptors with electronic light sensors providing light-dependent excitation of living retinal neurons – bipolar or ganglion cells. The second consists of using optogenetic methods to convert a proportion of surviving neurons into pseudophotoreceptors. In the framework of this strategy, retinal cells surviving completion of the active phase of degenerative processes are artificially given the property of light sensitivity. The literature contains a wide spectrum of reports describing the successful use of optogenetic approaches to restoring vision in animal models based on inherited retinal degeneration.
Keywordsretina optogenetics inherited retinal degeneration retinal prosthetization
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