Mathematical models of retinitis pigmentosa: the trophic factor hypothesis

Roberts, Paul A (2021) Mathematical models of retinitis pigmentosa: the trophic factor hypothesis. Journal of Theoretical Biology. a110938. ISSN 0022-5193

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Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the term used to denote a group of inherited retinal-degenerative conditions that cause progressive sight loss. Individuals with this condition lose their light-sensitive photoreceptor cells, known as rods and cones, over a period of years to decades; degeneration starting in the retinal periphery, and spreading peripherally and centrally over time. RP is a rod-cone dystrophy, meaning that rod health and function are affected earlier and more severely than that of cones. Rods degenerate due to an underlying mutation, whereas the reasons for cone degeneration are unknown. A number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain secondary cone loss and the spatio-temporal patterns of retinal degeneration in RP. One of the most promising is the trophic factor hypothesis, which suggests that rods produce a factor necessary for cone survival, such that, when rods degenerate, cone degeneration follows. In this paper we formulate and analyse mathematical models of human RP under the trophic factor hypothesis. These models are constructed as systems of reaction-diffusion partial differential equations in one spatial dimension, and are solved and analysed using a combination of numerical and analytical methods. We predict the conditions under which cones will degenerate following the loss of a patch of rods from the retina, the critical trophic factor treatment rate required to prevent cone degeneration following rod loss and the spatio-temporal patterns of cone loss that would result if the trophic factor mechanism alone were responsible for retinal degeneration.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 07:26
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 09:30

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