Neurovascular crosstalk between interneurons and capillaries is required for vision

Yoshihiko Usui, Peter D. Westenskow, Toshihide Kurihara, Edith Aguilar, Susumu Sakimoto, Liliana P. Paris, Carli Wittgrove, Daniel Feitelberg, Mollie S.H. Friedlander, Stacey K. Moreno, Michael I. Dorrell, Martin Friedlander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Functional interactions between neurons, vasculature, and glia within neurovascular units are critical for maintenance of the retina and other CNS tissues. For example, the architecture of the neurosensory retina is a highly organized structure with alternating layers of neurons and blood vessels that match the metabolic demand of neuronal activity with an appropriate supply of oxygen within perfused blood. Here, using murine genetic models and cell ablation strategies, we have demonstrated that a subset of retinal interneurons, the amacrine and horizontal cells, form neurovascular units with capillaries in 2 of the 3 retinal vascular plexuses. Moreover, we determined that these cells are required for generating and maintaining the intraretinal vasculature through precise regulation of hypoxia-inducible and proangiogenic factors, and that amacrine and horizontal cell dysfunction induces alterations to the intraretinal vasculature and substantial visual deficits. These findings demonstrate that specific retinal interneurons and the intraretinal vasculature are highly interdependent, and loss of either or both elicits profound effects on photoreceptor survival and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2335-2346
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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