Photosensitive Melanopsin-Containing Retinal Ganglion Cells in Health and Disease: Implications for Circadian Rhythms

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Title: Photosensitive Melanopsin-Containing Retinal Ganglion Cells in Health and Disease: Implications for Circadian Rhythms
Authors: Lax, Pedro | Ortuño Lizarán, Isabel | Maneu, Victoria | Vidal Sanz, Manuel | Cuenca, Nicolás
Research Group/s: Neurobiología del Sistema Visual y Terapia de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (NEUROVIS)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología | Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Óptica, Farmacología y Anatomía
Keywords: ipRGCs | Circadian rhythms | Aging | Retinitis pigmentosa | P23H | Parkinson disease
Knowledge Area: Fisiología | Farmacología | Biología Celular
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2019
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Lax P, Ortuño-Lizarán I, Maneu V, Vidal-Sanz M, Cuenca N. Photosensitive Melanopsin-Containing Retinal Ganglion Cells in Health and Disease: Implications for Circadian Rhythms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019; 20(13):3164. doi:10.3390/ijms20133164
Abstract: Melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells (mRGCs) represent a third class of retinal photoreceptors involved in regulating the pupillary light reflex and circadian photoentrainment, among other things. The functional integrity of the circadian system and melanopsin cells is an essential component of well-being and health, being both impaired in aging and disease. Here we review evidence of melanopsin-expressing cell alterations in aging and neurodegenerative diseases and their correlation with the development of circadian rhythm disorders. In healthy humans, the average density of melanopsin-positive cells falls after age 70, accompanied by age-dependent atrophy of dendritic arborization. In addition to aging, inner and outer retinal diseases also involve progressive deterioration and loss of mRGCs that positively correlates with progressive alterations in circadian rhythms. Among others, mRGC number and plexus complexity are impaired in Parkinson’s disease patients; changes that may explain sleep and circadian rhythm disorders in this pathology. The key role of mRGCs in circadian photoentrainment and their loss in age and disease endorse the importance of eye care, even if vision is lost, to preserve melanopsin ganglion cells and their essential functions in the maintenance of an adequate quality of life.
Sponsor: This research was funded by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO-FEDER BFU2015- 67139-R), Spanish Ministry of Education (FPU14/03166), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (RETICS-FEDER RD16/0008/0016 and RD16/0008/0026), and Generalitat Valenciana (PROMETEO/2016/158).
ISSN: 1661-6596 (Print) | 1422-0067 (Online)
DOI: 10.3390/ijms20133164
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - NEUROVIS - Artículos de Revistas

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