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Modulating gap junction permeability in photoreceptor-degenerated retinas

Professor Eberhart Zrenner contributed to a research article that aims to understand the lateral gap junction (GJ)-mediated communication pathway in photoreceptor-degenerated retinas, which is crucial for effective treatment of functional disorders of neuronal membrane channels. GJs play a vital role in visual signal processing in healthy retinas, yet their role in degenerated retinas remains underexplored. Through studying GJs in rd1 mouse retinas, which serve as a model for the human blinding disease retinitis pigmentosa, the research confirms the presence and functionality of GJ networks in degenerated retinas. It also reveals that GJ permeability can be modulated and demonstrates how sustained electrical stimulation can affect GJ permeability and the span of GJ-net. These findings suggest the potential of targeting GJ networks to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of electrical implants in treating visual impairments.