Unmasking inhibition prolongs neuronal function in retinal degeneration mouse model

Qin Wang, Seema Banerjee, Chung Him So, Chun Ting Qiu, Hang-I Christie Lam, Dennis Tse, Béla Völgyi, Feng Pan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


All neurodegenerative diseases involve a relatively long period of timeframe from the onset of the disease to complete loss of functions. Extending this timeframe, even at a reduced level of function, would improve the quality of life of patients with these devastating diseases. The retina, as the part of the central nervous system and a frequent site of many distressing neurodegenerative disease, provides an ideal model to investigate the feasibility of extending the functional timeframe through pharmacologic intervention. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a group of blinding diseases. Although the rate of progression and degree of visual loss varies, there is usually a prolonged time before patients totally lose their photoreceptors and vision. It is believed that inhibitory mechanisms are still intact and may become relatively strong after the gradual loss of photoreceptors in RP patients. Therefore, it is possible that light-evoked responses of retinal ganglion cells and visual information processes in retinal circuits could be ?unmasked? by blocking these inhibitory mechanisms restoring some level of visual function. Our results indicate that if the inhibition in the inner retina was unmasked in the retina of the rd10 mouse (the well-characterized RP mimicking, clinically relevant mouse model), the light-evoked responses of many retinal ganglion cells can be induced and restore their normal light sensitivity. GABA A receptor plays a major role in this masking inhibition. ERG b-wave and behavioral tests of spatial vision partly recovered after the application of PTX. Hence, removing retinal inhibition unmasks signalling mediated by surviving cones, thereby restoring some degree of visual function. These results may offer a novel strategy to restore the visual function with the surviving cones in RP patients and other gradual and progressive neurodegenerative diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15282-15299
Number of pages18
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020


  • ganglion cell
  • inhibition
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • retina
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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