The objective of this study is to investigate age-related differences in recovered visual function in Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats transduced with the Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) gene. An adeno-associated virus vector that contained ChR2 was injected intravitreously into young or aged RCS rats. After 4 months, visual evoked potentials were recorded. To estimate the transduction efficiencies, ChR2V-expressing cells and retrograde labeled retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were counted. After photoreceptor degradation, immunohistochemistry was used to detect glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in the retinas. The amplitudes and latencies from young RCS rats were higher and shorter, respectively, than those from aged RCS rats. ChR2V was expressed in the RGCs of both groups of rats; there was no significant difference in the transduction efficiency of either group. However, the number of RGCs in aged RCS rats was significantly less than that in young RCS rats. In addition, strong GFAP immunoreactivity was observed after photoreceptor degeneration, whereas it was weaker in ChR2V-expressing RGCs. ChR2 transduction produced photosensitive RGCs in both young and aged rats. However, the degree of recovery depended on the age at the time of transduction.
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 07/2011; 46(2):393-400. DOI:10.1007/s12031-011-9599-y · 2.76 Impact Factor