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        New type of nerve cell

        discovered in the retina

        The newly identified Campana cell could play a role in visual signal processing

              cientists at the John A.
              Moran Eye Center at the
        SUniversity of Utah have
        discovered a new type of nerve
        cell, or neuron, in the retina.

        In the central nervous system
        a complex circuitry of neurons
        communicate with each other
        to relay sensory and motor
        information; so-called interneurons
        serve as intermediaries in
        the chain of communication.
        Publishing in the Proceedings of
        the National Academy of Sciences
        of the United States of America,
        a research team led by Ning
        Tian, PhD, identifies a previously
        unknown type of interneuron in the
        mammalian retina.
                                                                  Image source:
        The discovery marks a notable
        development for the field as         “In the brain, persistent firing cells   of Utah, and the Department of
        scientists work toward a better      are believed to be involved in      Ophthalmology of Wayne State
        understanding of the central nervous   memory and learning,” said Tian.   University School of Medicine.
        system by identifying all classes of   “Since Campana cells have a       The work was also supported by
        neurons and their connections.       similar behavior, we theorize they   Ligon Research Center of Vision,
                                             could play a role in prompting a    Kresge Eye Institute, and the Dryer
        “Based on its morphology,            temporal ‘memory’ of a recent       Foundation.
        physiology, and genetic properties,   stimulation.”
        this cell doesn’t fit into the five                                      Story Source:
        classes of retinal neurons first     The published research study is:    Materials provided by University of
        identified more than 100 years ago,”   “An uncommon neuronal class       Utah Health. Note: Content may be
        said Tian. “We propose they might    conveys visual signals from rods    edited for style and length.
        belong to a new retinal neuron class   and cones to retinal ganglion cells.”
        by themselves.”                      Authors are: Brent K. Young, Charu   Related Multimedia:
                                             Ramakrishnan, Tushar Ganjawala,     The newly identified Campana cell.
        The research team named their        Ping Wang, Karl Deisseroth, and
        discovery the Campana cell after its   Ning Tian.                        Journal Reference:
        shape, which resembles a hand bell.                                      1. Brent K. Young, Charu
        Campana cells relay visual signals   Funding for the research came from   Ramakrishnan, Tushar
        from both types of light-sensing     National Institutes of Health grants   Ganjawala, Ping Wang, Karl
        rod and cone photoreceptors in the   R01EY012345, R01EY031699,           Deisseroth, Ning Tian. An
        retina, but their precise purpose is   T32EY024234, HHMI. This work      uncommon neuronal class
        the subject of ongoing research.     was supported by NIH Core Grant     conveys visual signals from rods
        Experiments showed Campana cells     (EY014800), and an Unrestricted     and cones to retinal ganglion
        remain activated for an unusually    Grant from Research to Prevent      cells. Proceedings of the National
        long time -- as long as 30 seconds --   Blindness, New York, NY, to the   Academy of Sciences, 2021;
        in response to a 10 millisecond light   Department of Ophthalmology      118 (44): e2104884118 DOI:
        flash stimulation.                   & Visual Sciences, University       10.1073/pnas.2104884118

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