Navigation Links
Gene discovery could yield treatments for nearsightedness
Date:9/12/2010

DURHAM, N.C. -- Myopia (nearsightedness) is the most common eye disorder in the world and becoming more common, yet little is known about its genetic underpinnings.

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center, in conjunction with several other groups, have uncovered a gene associated with myopia in Caucasian people from several different regions, including Dutch, British and Australian subjects.

Their work was published in Nature Genetics online on Sunday, Sept. 12.

Myopia happens when the focal point of an image falls just short of the retina at the rear of the eye, causing blurred distance vision.

Often the discovery of a gene still means that many years could pass before a treatment becomes available. However, gene therapies are already working well in some eye conditions, and myopia may be a good candidate condition for gene repair.

"The eye is already an organ of choice for gene therapy, for example, because the eye's small volume and self-contained area allow the therapy to remain inside the eye in a concentrated volume," said lead author Terri Young, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, pediatrics, and medicine, and a researcher in the Center for Human Genetics at Duke. "In addition, the eye's accessibility lets clinicians observe the effects of treatment over time with noninvasive methods that can illuminate and test the retina and other eye structures."

While many cases of myopia are mild, about 2 to 3 percent are pathological cases with retinal detachment, premature glaucoma, macular bleeding, and glaucoma leading eventually to blindness, said Young, who has spent over a decade studying the severe form of myopia.

Up to 80 percent of people in Singapore have myopia, while about one in three Americans has the condition. Countries with a high prevalence of nearsightedness have a hard time finding fighter pilots, to give one example of how myopia affects a population.

There is an antidote for the condition. "People need to go outside and look to the horizon," Young said. "Today's near work forces our eyes to constantly be in tension to focus on near objects reading papers and watching monitors. We also watch TV, work in cities with high buildings, drive in heavy traffic, and generally have fewer chances for distant views, especially in urban areas. These factors affect children with developing vision, as well as many adults."

Working with a large group of researchers, Young, co-lead author Pirro Hysi of the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology of Kings College in London, and colleagues found several distinct spellings of DNA code near the RASGRF1 gene that had a strong association with focusing errors in vision. These findings were validated in six other Caucasian adult groups in a total of 13,414 subjects.

"Because RASGRF1 is highly expressed in neurons and the retina, it is crucial to retinal function and visual memory consolidation," Young said.

When the scientists created mice that were missing the correct gene, these mice showed changes in their eye lenses.

"This was biologically convincing," Young said. "The RASGRF1 provides a novel molecular mechanism to study so that we can work to prevent the most common cause of visual impairment."

Young has also led a team that found a different gene -- CTNDD2 -- related to myopia in Chinese and Japanese populations. That work included researchers from the Duke Center for Human Genetics, the Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Medical School in Singapore, and the National University of Singapore. In many Asian countries, a majority of people have myopia.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. A discovery by Dr. Andre Veillettes team could impact the treatment of autoimmune diseases
2. Discovery may aid search for anti-aging drugs
3. Discovery Moves Use of Stone Tools Back 800,000 Years
4. New discovery brings hope to treatment of incurable blood cancer
5. Discovery Opens Door for New Options in Prevention and Treatment of Mesothelioma
6. Discovery of Napoleon Hill Book Bound to Change Fate for Millions
7. B2Discovery: Entrepreneurs and researchers join forces to conquer cancer
8. Sun-induced skin cancer: new discovery permits doctors to assess genetic risk
9. U of A discovery offers promising research for spinal-cord injury treatments
10. Discovery of Stem Cell Illuminates Human Brain Evolution, Points To Therapies
11. Gene discovery potential key to cost-competitive cellulosic ethanol
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, the leading website ... Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to continue to ... adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited about this ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, ... Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility ... home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the ... several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong ... Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. ... to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... To deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or ... Center of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The vast majority of dialysis patients currently receive ... usually 3 times a week, with treatment times averaging ... equipment preparation and wait time.  This regimen can be ... who are elderly and frail.  Many elderly dialysis patients ... for some duration of time. Residents in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Experian Health, the healthcare ... the patient payment and care experience, today ... products and services that will enhance the ... offerings. These award-winning solutions will enable healthcare ... compliant in an ever-changing environment and redefine ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) today announced that ... organization as its newest member.  ... and chief scientific officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, will serve ... of Directors. ... in support of our efforts to conduct research ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: