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7 March 2016 Biophysical mechanism of transient retinal phototropism in rod photoreceptors
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Oblique light stimulation evoked transient retinal phototropism (TRP) has been recently detected in frog and mouse retinas. High resolution microscopy of freshly isolated retinas indicated that the TRP is predominated by rod photoreceptors. Comparative confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT) revealed that the TRP predominantly occurred from the photoreceptor outer segment (OS). However, biophysical mechanism of rod OS change is still unknown. In this study, frog retinal slices, which open a cross section of retinal photoreceptor and other functional layers, were used to test the effect of light stimulation on rod OS. Near infrared light microscopy was employed to monitor photoreceptor changes in retinal slices stimulated by a rectangular-shaped visible light flash. Rapid rod OS length change was observed after the stimulation delivery. The magnitude and direction of the rod OS change varied with the position of the rods within the stimulated area. In the center of stimulated region the length of the rod OS shrunk, while in the peripheral region the rod OS tip swung towards center region in the plane perpendicular to the incident stimulus light. Our experimental result and theoretical analysis suggest that the observed TRP may reflect unbalanced disc-shape change due to localized pigment bleaching. Further investigation is required to understand biochemical mechanism of the observed rod OS kinetics. Better study of the TRP may provide a noninvasive biomarker to enable early detection of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other diseases that are known to produce retinal photoreceptor dysfunctions.
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Xiaohui Zhao, Damber Thapa, Benquan Wang, Shaoyan Gai, and Xincheng Yao "Biophysical mechanism of transient retinal phototropism in rod photoreceptors", Proc. SPIE 9706, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXVII, 97061O (7 March 2016);

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