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Yiming Lu, Jacopo Benedetti, Xincheng Yao; Light-Induced Length Shrinkage of Rod Photoreceptor Outer Segments. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2018;7(6):29. doi: 10.1167/tvst.7.6.29.
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This study was designed to verify light-induced outer segment (OS) length shrinkage of rod photoreceptors and to characterize its anatomic source at disc-level resolution.
Frog (Rana pipiens) retinas were used for this study. Time-lapse light microscopy of freshly isolated OSs was employed to test transient rod OS changes at 10 ms temporal resolution. Histological light microscopy of dark- and light-adapted retinas was used to confirm light-induced rod OS length changes; and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to quantify light-driven structural perturbation of rod OSs at disc level resolution.
Time-lapse light microscopy images verified transient length shrinking responses in freshly isolated rod OSs. Histological light microscopy images confirmed reduced rod OS lengths in light-adapted retinas, compared to that of dark-adapted retinas. TEM images disclosed shortened inter-disc distances in light-adapted retinas compared to dark-adapted retinas.
Light-induced rod OS length shrinkage was confirmed using time-lapse light microscopy of isolated rod OSs and histological light microscopy of dark- and light-adapted retinas. TEM revealed that the rod OS length shrinkage was correlated to the light-driven decrease of the space between individual discs, not the disc thickness itself.
Light-induced transient rod response promises a noninvasive biomarker for early diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, in which the rod photoreceptors are known to be more vulnerable than cone photoreceptors.
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