Bethesda, MDA new research report published in The FASEB Journal (https://www.fasebj.org) will help ophthalmologists and scientists better understand a rare genetic disease that causes increased susceptibility to blue light, night blindness, and decreased vision called Enhanced S-Cone Syndrome or Goldman-Favre Syndrome. In the report, scientists found that the expression of genes responsible for the healthy renewal of rods and cones in the retina was reduced and that this problem originates in the photoreceptors themselves rather than in the adjacent retinal pigment epithelial layer as once thought.
"This research could help identify therapeutic agents that would prevent, ameliorate or possibly cure these blinding diseases related to defective renewal of retinal cells," said Krzysztof Palczewski, Ph.D., a senior scientist involved in the research and an editorial board member of The FASEB Journal from the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. "It is possible that during aging, this process is slowed and such intervention could be important for determining diseases such as age-related macular degeneration."
To make this discovery, researchers studied both human ESCS patients and an ESCS mouse model. They found that phagocytosis, a process that allows for the normal and continual renewal of rods and cones in the retina, was defective. Using RNA-sequencing to identify differences in complete transcriptomes, and cell culture techniques, scientists demonstrated that the phagocytotic defect was due to the ESCS photoreceptors themselves, rather than the adjacent retinal pigment epithelium layer that also is involved in photoreceptor phagocytosis.
"Learning what goes wrong in rare diseases like Enhanced S-Cone Syndrome allows us to understand how vision works at the molecular level," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor
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