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Blood vessel protein reverses macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy in mice
Date:3/16/2008

ion and diabetic retinopathy.

In 2003, Lis laboratory cloned Robo4 and showed it served the opposite function of netrins by inhibiting blood vessel growth and the destabilization that causes leakage. Robo4 is found only in cells in the interior surface of blood vessels and is activated by a protein called Slit. After being activated, Robo4 initiates a chain of biochemical events to stabilize blood vessels and prevent uncontrolled growth.

Everything in biology has a yin (negative) and a yang (positive), and in the previous paper on netrins we brought attention to a new signaling pathway that induces vessels and nerves to grow, Li said. Robo4 is the yin to that process, preventing new vessel growth by stabilizing the integrity of mature blood vessels.

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of legal blindness in people age 65 or older and is expected to become an increasingly common and costly health issue as the number of older people in United States increases. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of legal blindness in working-age Americans. Currently, there are an estimated 21 million people with diabetes.


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Contact: Chris Nelson
christopher.nelson@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-7387
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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