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The retina is composed of neural networks that are responsible for visual function, and vascular networks that support the tissue. One type of neuron, the photoreceptor cell, receives light and converts it to electric signals, which are subsequently transferred to secondary and tertiary neurons. During signal transfer, interneurons process the visual information, and then the integrated information is transmitted to the brain through the retinal ganglion cells, whose axons form the optic nerve. Retinal neural tissue also contains MÃ¼ller glial cells, which develop from retinal progenitor cells; the retinal progenitor cells also generate retinal neuronal cells, i.e. photoreceptor cells and retinal ganglion cells. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a retinal neurodegenerative disease caused by a genetic abnormality affecting the photoreceptor cells or the retinal pigment epithelial cells which contributes to the maintenance of photoreceptor cells. One of the best characterized mutations of rhodopsin, P23H, occurs with high frequency in RP patients, and has been actively studied using genetically modified animals or cells. Most retinal diseases cause neurodegenerative disorders resulting in visual function impairment. Therapies that target the root causes of these disorders, such as the control of blood sugar levels in diabetic retinopathy, and gene therapies for the treatment of genetic diseases, are important approaches. (Ozawa Y, Kamoshita M, Narimatsu T, Ban N, Toda E,Neuroinflammation and Neurodegenerative Disorders of the Retina)
Last date updated on July, 2014