Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29386551
Link to HAL – sorbonne-universite-01708801
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41598-018-20171-0
Scientific Reports, 2018, 8 (1), pp.1968. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-20171-0⟩
Usher syndrome type 1 (USH1) is a major cause of inherited deafness and blindness in humans. The eye disorder is often referred to as retinitis pigmentosa, which is characterized by a secondary cone degeneration following the rod loss. The development of treatments to prevent retinal degeneration has been hampered by the lack of clear evidence for retinal degeneration in mutant mice deficient for the Ush1 genes, which instead faithfully mimic the hearing deficit. We show that, under normal housing conditions, Ush1g−/− and Ush1c−/− albino mice have dysfunctional cone photoreceptors whereas pigmented knockout animals have normal photoreceptors. The key involvement of oxidative stress in photoreceptor apoptosis and the ensued retinal gliosis were further confirmed by their prevention when the mutant mice are reared under darkness and/or supplemented with antioxidants. The primary degeneration of cone photoreceptors contrasts with the typical forms of retinitis pigmentosa. Altogether, we propose that oxidative stress probably accounts for the high clinical heterogeneity among USH1 siblings, which also unveils potential targets for blindness prevention.