Jin Wan, Ph.D. (Goldman Laboratory), Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School
Sight is a precious sense. Diseases of the retina, like macular degeneration (death of photoreceptors) and glaucoma (optic nerve degeneration) cause blindness and are among the top 10 disabilities affecting people. Regeneration of retinal neurons or optic axons could cure these diseases, but unfortunately, this does not normally occur in mammals. However, teleost fish (e.g., zebrafish), have remarkable retinal regenerative abilities. Because the zebrafish and mammalian retina share similar structure and function, we suspect that mechanisms driving retina and optic nerve regeneration in zebrafish will suggest regenerative strategies that can be applied to mammals. Shown here is a cross section of an injured adult zebrafish retina with proliferating Muller glial cells (red) that produce retinal progenitors (green) to regenerate lost retinal neurons.