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Age-Related Alterations in Neurons of the Mouse Retina

Samuel, Melanie A. and Zhang, Yifeng and Meister, Markus and Sanes, Joshua R. (2011) Age-Related Alterations in Neurons of the Mouse Retina. Journal of Neuroscience, 31 (44). pp. 16033-16044. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC3238393.

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The behavioral consequences of age-related alterations in neural function are well documented, but less is known about their cellular bases. To characterize such changes, we analyzed 14 molecularly identified subsets of mouse retinal projection neurons (retinal ganglion cells or RGCs) and interneurons (amacrine, bipolar, and horizontal cells). The retina thinned but expanded with age, maintaining its volume. There was minimal decline in the number of RGCs, interneurons, or photoreceptors, but the diameter of RGC dendritic arbors decreased with age. Together, the increased retinal area and the decreased dendritic area may lead to gaps in RGC coverage of the visual field. Axonal arbors of RGCs in the superior colliculus also atrophied with age, suggesting that the relay of visual information to central targets may decline over time. On the other hand, the laminar restriction of RGC dendrites and the interneuronal processes that synapse on them were not detectably disturbed, and RGC subtypes exhibited distinct electrophysiological responses to complex visual stimuli. Other neuronal types aged in different ways: amacrine cell arbors did not remodel detectably, whereas horizontal cell processes sprouted into the photoreceptor layer. Bipolar cells showed arbor-specific alterations: their dendrites sprouted but their axons remained stable. In summary, retinal neurons exhibited numerous age-related quantitative alterations (decreased areas of dendritic and axonal arbors and decreased density of cells and synapses), whereas their qualitative features (molecular identity, laminar specificity, and feature detection) were largely preserved. Together, these data reveal selective age-related alterations in neural circuitry, some of which could underlie declines in visual acuity.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Meister, Markus0000-0003-2136-6506
Additional Information:© 2011 the authors. For the first six months after publication SfN’s license will be exclusive. Beginning six months after publication the Work will be made freely available to the public on SfN’s website to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license ( Received July 12, 2011; revised Aug. 29, 2011; accepted Sept. 15, 2011. This work was supported by grants from the NIH to J.R.S and M.M. M.A.S. was a Damon Runyon Fellow supported by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (DRG-1990-08). We thank Z. He for rAAV-Cre, K. Kuchibohtla and B. Bacsai for the pAAV-CAG-YC3.6 vector, and I. Provencio for antibody to melanopsin.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Damon Runyon Cancer Research FoundationDRG-1990-08
Issue or Number:44
PubMed Central ID:PMC3238393
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170405-082004518
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Official Citation:Age-Related Alterations in Neurons of the Mouse Retina Melanie A. Samuel, Yifeng Zhang, Markus Meister, Joshua R. Sanes Journal of Neuroscience 2 November 2011, 31 (44) 16033-16044; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3580-11.2011
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75722
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Apr 2017 16:38
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:53

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