The retina of the eye, which is part of the central nervous system, is where visual impressions take their initial shape. The retina consists of photoreceptors and several different specialized nerve cells that use various networks to coordinate impressions from the light-sensitive photoreceptors before the information is relayed to the brain.
Per-Henrik Edqvist has studied how the retina’s complex structure of specialized cells is formed from a small number of retina stem cells during the fetal development of chickens.
Above all, he has examined how one of the retina’s specialized cell types, so-called horizontal cells, are formed and reach maturity. Their task is to receive and integrate information from a large number of photoreceptors, and there are at least two functionally different types.
“We have characterized the molecular development of these different horizontal cell types in order to better understand how the nervous system is formed,” explains Per-Henrik Edqvist.
He shows that the different types take on their determined role at a very early stage in development, which conflicts with certain conventional models of the development of the retina. What’s more, they do not develop simultaneously but rather one after the other, and in their development they undergo a highly unexpected cell migration from their birth site to their ultimate position in the retina.
“The fact that they migrate at different times toward or away from signals that can influence their continued development may be the mechanism that governs them in different developmental directions,” says Per-Henrik Edqvist.
The dissertation enhances our knowledge of how the central nervous system is formed during fetal development, and thereby our understanding of how disturbances of the brain and ocular system can occur and be prevented.
“By understanding these mechanisms, we hope some day to be able to use stem cells to create spare parts that can replace damaged or dead nerve cells in the retina.”
Anneli Waara | alfa
Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin
24.01.2017 | Carlos III University of Madrid
Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine