Author(s): Daniel S, Clark AF, McDowell CM. Subtype-specific response of retinal ganglion cells to optic nerve crush. Cell Death Discov. 2018 Jun 28;4:7. doi: 10.1038/s41420-018-0069-y. eCollection 2018. Erratum in: Cell Death Discov. 2019 Jul 10;5:116. PMID 30062056
Journal: Cell Death Discovery, Volume 4, 2018
Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease with retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss, optic nerve degeneration and subsequent vision loss. There are about 30 different subtypes of RGCs whose response to glaucomatous injury is not well characterized. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the response of 4 RGC subtypes in a mouse model of optic nerve crush (ONC). In this study, we also evaluated the pattern of axonal degeneration in RGC subtypes after nerve injury. We found that out of the 4 subtypes, transient-Off α RGCs are the most susceptible to injury followed by On-Off direction selective RGCs (DSGC). Non-image forming RGCs are more resilient with ipRGCs exhibiting the most resistance of them all. In contrast, axons degenerate irrespective of their retinal soma after ONC injury. In conclusion, we show that RGCs have subtype specific cell death response to ONC injury and that RGC axons disintegrate in an autonomous fashion undergoing Wallerian degeneration. These discoveries can further direct us towards effective diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to treat optic neuropathies, such as glaucoma.