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Maria Thereza Perez

Senior Lecturer

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Serum-free retinal explant culture system and comparative rescue effects of LEDGF, GST, CNTF, BDNF, NGF, bFGF and antioxidants in the rd1 mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa


  • Sat pal Ahuja
  • Poonam Ahuja-Jensen
  • Romeo Caffé
  • Maria Thereza Perez
  • Per Ekström
  • Theo Van Veen

Summary, in English

Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of inherited retinal degenerative diseases characterized by the loss of photoreceptors and vision for which no effective treatment is available. Several animal models of retinitis pigmentosa are used to elucidate its pathogenesis and to devise therapies. The retinal degeneration (rd1) mouse is one such animal model in which rod-specific phosphodiesterase (PDE) is inactive due to a mutation in the β-subunit of the Pde gene (Pde6brd1). This mutation leads to increased levels of retinal cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) and Ca2+ ions and eventually retinal degeneration by increased oxidative stress, activation of poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase-1 and proteinases including calpains and caspases. However, diverse overlapping mechanism(s) of cell death have been described. An in vitro retinal explant culture system was developed, as results of studies involving isolated retinal cells and the in vivo models are difficult to interpret. Neonatal and postnatal retinas of wild type (wt) and rd1 mice were cultured successfully in a serum-free medium containing bovine serum albumin. The cultured wt and rd1 retinas respectively developed and degenerated in ways similar to the age-matched in vivo retinas of the two genotypes. This was confirmed from the similar retinal lamination pattern, expression and immunohistochemical localization of opsin, rhodopsin, arrestin, interphotoreceptor retinol-binding protein and calcium-binding protein markers, namely, calbindin, parvalbumin and calretinin in age-matched in vivo and cultured retinas of both genotypes. Horizontal cell fibers and Mueller cells of in vivo retina showed the presence of α-and μ-glutathione-S-transferases (GST). In rd1 mouse retina, GST and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) levels were lower than those in wt and suggested an oxidative stress. The photoreceptor rescue effects of lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF), α-GST, and μ-GST; and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), brain-derived growth factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF); and antioxidants (lutein, zeaxanthin, glutathione and α-lipoic acid) were compared after supplementation in a serum-free retina organ culture system. The above combination of antioxidants rescued the rd1 photoreceptors both under in vitro and in vivo conditions. The maximum photoreceptors rescue was by CNTF + BDNF, whereas that by NGF + bFGF was intermediate. CNTF, BDNF, NGF, and bFGF individually rescued the photoreceptors, but their effect was less than those of their combinations. LEDGF and GST supplementation in vitro delayed rod photoreceptor degeneration in postnatal day-2 (PN2) and PN7 rd1 explants cultured in vitro for 26 and 21 days, respectively, possibly by reversing the oxidative stress. The latter was confirmed from the lower levels of GPx and from the rescue of rd1 photoreceptors by in vitro and in vivo supplementation with LEDGF or the combination of antioxidants. Individual antioxidants were ineffective in rescuing the photoreceptors under in vivo and in vitro conditions.


  • Ophthalmology, Lund
  • Ophthalmology (Malmö)
  • Nanomaterials for retinal prostheses

Publishing year







Retinal Degeneration: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Document type

Book chapter


Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


  • Neurosciences
  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • Anti-oxidants
  • BDNF
  • BFGF
  • CNTF
  • GST
  • Mouse retina culture
  • NGF
  • Rd1 photoreceptor rescue



Research group

  • Ophthalmology (Malmö)
  • Nanomaterials for retinal prostheses


  • ISBN: 9781607410072