The retina is a highly vascularized tissue, but too much or too little vascularization can lead to visual impairment and diseases such as familial exudative vitreoretinopathy or macular degeneration. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Alfred Nordheim and colleagues at Tuebingen University in Tuebingen, Germany, identified the DNA transcription factor SRF and its cofactors MRTF-A and MRTF-B as critical regulators of vascularization in the postnatal mouse eye. Loss of vascular Srf in adult mice led to the formation of microaneurysms and excess blood vessel formation similar to human retinal diseases such as retinal angiomatous proliferation and macular telangiectasia. These studies demonstrate that SRF plays an integral role in the development and homeostasis or the retinal vasculature and suggest that SRF could potentially serve as a therapeutic target in human retinal diseases.
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Journal of Clinical Investigation