Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Javier Urcuyo, Arizona State University, Glendale, AZ
In an attempt to impede photoreceptor degeneration in various rod and cone dystrophies, the interplay of rod, cone, and retinal pigment epithelium cells has been the focal point of numerous experiments and research studies. However, despite these countless investigations, a complete understanding has yet to be achieved. In this work, we examine the role of this retinal interplay in the progression of photoreceptor degeneration by mathematically modeling the zebrafish retina subject to a pde6 mutation, which causes degeneration in cone photoreceptors. We use bifurcation and stability analysis to trace the various paths to blindness. By doing so, we are able to understand the various progressions of the disease, showing each stage of degeneration. Although zebrafish are able to regenerate cells such as photoreceptors, we find that the mutation progresses similarly to as it would in humans. Ultimately, our results show that the nutrients, namely the energy uptake and consumption, are at the heart of further understanding photoreceptor death.