Elevated IOP alters the space-time profiles in the center and surround of both ON and OFF RGCs in mouse [Neuroscience]
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, and is characterized by progressive retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death. An experimental model of glaucoma has been established by elevating the intraocular pressure (IOP) via microbead occlusion of ocular fluid outflow in mice. Studies in this model have found visual dysfunction that varied with adaptational state, occurred before anatomical changes, and affected OFF RGCs more than ON RGCs. These results indicate subtle alterations in the underlying retinal circuitry that could help identify disease before irreversible RGC changes. Therefore, we looked at how RGC function was altered with elevated IOP under both photopic and scotopic conditions. We first found that responses to light offset are diminished with IOP elevation along with a concomitant decrease in receptive field center size for OFF RGCs. In addition, the antagonistic surround strength and size was reduced in ON RGCs. Furthermore, elevation of IOP significantly accelerated the photopic temporal tuning of RGC center responses in both ON and OFF RGCs. We found that some of the IOP-induced functional changes to OFF RGCs relied on ON cross-over pathways, indicating dysfunction in inner retinal circuitry. Overall, these results suggest that IOP alters multiple functions in the retina depending on the adaptational state. They provide a basis for designing multiple functional tests for early detection of glaucoma and for circuit-specific therapeutic targets in treatment of this blinding disease.
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