To the extent possible under law, AOP-Wiki has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to KE:1877
Key Event Title
Altered, retinal layer structure
Key Event Components
Key Event Overview
AOPs Including This Key Event
Key Event Description
The anatomy and histology of the eye are highly conserved among vertebrates. The cornea and lens refract and focus light onto the posterior chamber of the eye, the vitreous cavity, which is covered by the retina. The retina consists of three specialised layers of cells, the outermost of which is formed by photoreceptors that absorb light and transmit the subsequent neural signal to the innermost layers, which consist of neurons specialised in processing and transmitting this neural signal (Wässle and Riemann, 1978; Cameron and Carney, 2000 ; Rockhill et al, 2000; Fadool, 2003). The neurons of the innermost layer converge to form the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to the brain (Gestri et al., 2012). The retina has different types of photoreceptors, the cones, which are responsible for colour vision, and the rods, which enable vision in the dark or in very low light conditions. In adults, cones are distributed in the retina in a precise and very regular arrangement, forming a photoreceptor mosaic. The precise spatiotemporal pattern of maturation of cones may affect the organization of this mosaic, and THs appear to play a role in the coordination of this maturation process (Suzuki et al., 2013). In the fish retina, this arrangement is most evident in the outer nuclear layer where the position of each cone subtype is precisely arranged relative to the others (Fadool, 2003; Robinson et al., 1993) resulting in a highly ordered crystalline-like mosaic.
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is important to maintain a healthy and functional retina (Strauss 2005). The strong connection between the RPE cells with the tight junction, creates a blood-retinal barrier to mediate the directional transport of ions, water and nutrients while removing waste products. Another key function of the RPE is to absorb excess light energy to protect the neural retina from phototoxicity (Plafker 2012). Phagocytosis of spilled photoreceptor outer segments (Lister 2002) is another function of the RPE to maintain balanced photoreceptor growth, which is important for function.
How It Is Measured or Detected
For assessment of eye structure and layers, mostly simple morphometric analyses based on histological sections are sufficient. This can either be electron microscopy for subcellular changes, or normal light microscopy for cellular changes. Specific antibody staining might help to identify the different retinal layers, but usually, they are easily distinguishable by normal histological staining (e.g. HE staining).
Measurement of cell layer diameter is the most popular and simple method to assess changes in eye structure and layers. Moreover, measurement of the pigmentation grade of the retinal pigment epithelium can be used to assess structural changes.
(reviewed in Chen 2020 )
Domain of Applicability
In general, the eye structure is very conserved among vertebrates, but some differences exist with regard to shape and expression of the different retinal layers. Fig. 1 (from Richardson 2012) demonstrates the histology of the human vs the zebrafish eye. As in humans, the mature zebrafish retina consists of three nuclear layers separated by two plexiform layers. The photoreceptor rod and cone nuclei are located in the outer nuclear layer; the amacrine, horizontal, and Müller glial cell bodies are found in the inner nuclear layer and the ganglion cell bodies are placed in the ganglion cell layer. The plexiform layers connect these layers. In contrast to zebrafish, the human retina lacks UV-sensitive cones.
Other structural differences between species are mostly related to their lifestyle (e.g. nocturnal vs diurnal) (Bibliowicz 2011) and cannot be generalized for specific vertebrate classes.
Eye structure differs between life stages, as the different retinal layers do not develop at the same time and the eye itself grows with the organism. Eye development in zebrafish closely resembles the one in humans and other vertebrates. The eye develops from three different embryological tissues that form the specific structures of the eye, starting with the optic vesicle at 16 hpf, which further develops into the two-layered optic cup composed of the retinal neuroepithelium and pigmented epithelium until 20 hpf. Lens development begins as a lens placode that forms a solid lens mass by 22 hpf. Afterwards, the neuroectodermal layers of the optic vesicle invaginate ventrally by 24 hpf. By 48 hpf, zebrafish eye morphogenesis is almost complete with only retinal neurogenesis continuing.
The is no indication for sex differences in eye structure in fish or other vertebrates.
4. Evidence for perturbation by stressor
Multiple studies demonstrate that eye development and its resulting structure can be disrupted by different stressors (reviewed for example by Chen 2020).
Wässle, H., Riemann, H.J., 1978. The mosaic of nerve cells in the mammalian retina. Proc. R. Soc. London B Biol. Sci. 200, 441–461.
Cameron, D.A., Carney, L.H., 2000. Cell mosaic patterns in the native and regenerated inner retina of zebrafish: implications for retinal assembly. J. Comp. Neurol. 416, 356–367.
Rockhill, R.L., Euler, T., Masland, R.H., 2000. Spatial order within but not between types of retinal neurons. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97, 2303–2307.
Fadool, J.M., 2003. Development of a rod photoreceptor mosaic revealed in transgenic zebrafish. Dev. Biol. 258, 277–290.
Gestri, G., Link, B. A., & Neuhauss, S. C. (2012). The visual system of zebrafish and its use to model
Suzuki SC, Bleckert A, Williams PR, Takechi M, Kawamura S, Wong ROL. Cone photoreceptor types in zebrafish are generated by symmetric terminal divisions of dedicated precursors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(37):15109-15114. doi:10.1073/pnas.1303551110
Strauss O. The retinal pigment epithelium in visual function. Physiol Rev. 2005 Jul;85(3):845-81. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00021.2004. PMID: 15987797.
Plafker SM, O'Mealey GB, Szweda LI. Mechanisms for countering oxidative stress and damage in retinal pigment epithelium. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2012;298:135-77. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394309-5.00004-3. PMID: 22878106; PMCID: PMC3564215.
Ali S, Champagne DL, Richardson MK. Behavioral profiling of zebrafish embryos exposed to a panel of 60 water-soluble compounds. Behav Brain Res. 2012;228(2):272-283. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.11.020
Bibliowicz J, Tittle RK, Gross JM. Toward a Better Understanding of Human Eye Disease: Insights from the Zebrafish, Danio Rerio. Vol 100.; 2011. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-384878-9.00007-8
Lister JA. Development of pigment cells in the zebrafish embryo. Microsc Res Tech. 2002;58(6):435-441. doi:10.1002/jemt.10161