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New insight on how people with retinal degenerative disease can maintain their night vision for a relatively long period of time has been published today in the open-access eLife journal. The study suggests that second-order neurons in the retina, which relay visual signals to the retinal ganglion cells that project into the brain, maintain their activity in response to photoreceptor degeneration to resist visual decline -- a process known as homeostatic plasticity.


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When the eye isn't getting enough oxygen in the face of common conditions like premature birth or diabetes, it sets in motion a state of frenzied energy production that can ultimately result in blindness, and now scientists have identified new points where they may be able to calm the frenzy and instead enable recovery. In this high-energy environ, both the endothelial cells that will form new blood vessels in the retina -- which could improve oxygen levels -- and nearby microglia -- a type of macrophage that typically keeps watch over the retina -- prefer glycolysis as a means to turn glucose into their fuel.


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