Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract: We have examined cyclic GMP concentrations, guanylate cyclase activities, and cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase (PDE) activities in developing retinas of congenic mice with different allelic combinations at the retinal degeneration (rd) and retinal degeneration slow (rds) loci. Although guanylate cyclase activities were found to be uniformly low in the mutant retinas, striking differences in PDE activity and cyclic GMP levels were observed in retinas of the various genotypes. Homozygous rds mice, which lack receptor outer segments, showed reduced retinal PDE activity and cyclic GMP concentration in comparison to normal animals. In heterozygous rds/+ mice with abnormal outer segments, the levels were intermediate. In retinas of homozygous rd mice, PDE activity was lower than in rds retinas and cyclic GMP levels were much higher. In mice homozygous for both rd and rds genes, retinal PDE activities were even lower than in single homozygous rd mice; the cyclic GMP level reached the same high value as in the rd animals, persisted for a longer time at this high level, and did not correlate with the rate of photoreceptor cell loss. Thus, a marked variation in PDE activity appears to be the major manifestation of abnormal outer segment differentiation and eventual degeneration of photoreceptor cells in these neurological mutants. An increased cyclic GMP level seems to be an essential corollary in the expression of the rd gene even in the absence of outer segments, but it appears unlikely that an abnormally high nucleotide level in itself causes photoreceptor cell death.
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