chapter  1
12 Pages

Culture of Retinal Neurons

ByJames D. Lindsey

The culture of retinal tissue and cells has led to new insights regarding the influence of neurotransmitters, growth factors, hormones, and other biological molecules on retinal neuron survival and differentiation, as well as the role of the extracellular matrix in retinal cell function; it has also provided important screening tools to investigate potential neuroprotective treatments [1-7]. A particular advantage of many culture systems is they can permit visual assessment of cell shape, viability, and synaptogenesis of living retinal neurons [7-11]. Through the use of specialized dyes, it is possible to monitor changes of intracellular calcium, apoptosis markers, and other cytoplasmic molecules within living retinal cells (see Chap. 14) [12,13]. Also, the effects of drug treatments can be assessed in the absence of systemic responses or dilution that would be encountered in vivo.