Mingxiao Wei L&S Biological Sciences
Physiology of RGC in Disease: Implications for Vision Restoration
Retinal degeneration, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP), affects over 10 million people in the United States and leads to significant vision loss. During RP, photoreceptors die, yet the downstream neurons in the circuit responsible for visual information processing, including retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), survive. Successful vision restoration requires that these downstream neurons function normally. However, the surviving neurons undergo a process called remodeling which may be maladaptive and become a barrier to effective vision restoration. My project aims to investigate the impact of ion channel function changes on the physiological properties of RGCs in a mouse model of retinal degeneration. I will utilize patch clamp techniques to record electrical activities from single neurons to study the changes in ion channels. Based on current knowledge, I hypothesize that up-regulation of expression of voltage-gated ion channels is responsible for the hyperexcitability and lowered threshold during the RGC remodeling. Findings from this project will shed light on potential therapeutic targets aimed at preventing vision loss and restoring vision.