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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Retinal Defocus and Form-Deprivation Exposure Duration Affects RPE BMP Gene Expression.

  • Author(s): Zhang, Yan
  • Phan, Eileen
  • Wildsoet, Christine F
  • et al.

In the context of ocular development and eye growth regulation, retinal defocus and/or image contrast appear key variables although the nature of the signal(s) relayed from the retina to the sclera remains poorly understood. Nonetheless, under optimal visual conditions, eye length is brought into alignment with its optical power to achieve approximate emmetropia, through appropriate adjustment to eye growth. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which lies between the retina and choroid/sclera, appears to play a crucial role in this process. In the investigations reported here, we used a chick model system to assess the threshold duration of exposure to lens-imposed defocus and form-deprivation necessary for conversion of evoked retinal signals into changes in BMP gene expression in the RPE. Our study provides evidence for the following: 1) close-loop, optical defocus-guided (negative and positive lenses) bidirectional BMP gene expression regulation, 2) open-loop, form-deprivation (diffusers)-induced down-regulation of BMP gene expression, and 3) early, transient up-regulation of BMP gene expression in response to both types of lens and diffuser applications. The critical exposure for accurately encoding retinal images as biological signals at the level of the RPE is in the order of minutes to hours, depending on the nature of the visual manipulations.

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