Functional changes in Tg P23H-1 rat retinal responses: differences between ON and OFF pathway transmission to the superior colliculus.
The Royal College of Surgeons rat provides a valuable animal model for examining the ontogeny of inherited or acquired photoreceptor degeneration and for assessing various treatment paradigms. Here we describe a sequence of events in which photoreceptor loss induces secondary changes that ultimately result in a progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells. The functional consequences of photoreceptor loss are described and compared with those observed in dystrophic animals that received grafts of pigment epithelial cells at an early stage in the degenerative process. The results of this work suggest that transplantation might slow or halt the progress of photoreceptor loss in certain human retinal degenerative conditions, provided suitable safeguards have been put in place.