The study used the retina as a model of the central nervous system to investigate how nerve cells (brain cells) die, and then they framed new methods for reviving them.
“We were able to awaken the light-receptor cells in the human macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for central vision and our ability to see details and colors clearly. In eyes that are available five hours after the donor’s death, Moran Eye Center Scientist Fatima Abbas says the cells respond to bright light, colored lights and even very dim rays.
The team also designed a special transport unit to restore oxygen and other nutrients for donor eyes.
“We were able to make retinal cells talk to each other, the way they do in a living eye, to control human vision. Previous studies have restored very limited electrical activity in the eye. organ donors, but this has never been achieved at the macula, and never to the extent that we have demonstrated,” said Frans Vinberg of the University of Utah.
This approach can help further develop treatments to improve vision and light signaling in the eyes with age-related diseases.