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LSUHSC research identifies enzyme that makes survival molecule for key vision cells
Date:6/26/2009

New Orleans, LA Research lead by Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, identifying an enzyme that makes neuroprotectin D1 which specifically and selectively protects retinal cells key for vision, will be published in the June 26, 2009 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Dr. Bazan's research team previously discovered neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), a naturally produced chemical messenger that protects cells from injury caused by free radicals and other oxidative stress. Neuroprotectin D1 is derived from the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which is present in both brain and retinal cells.

Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells are essential for the survival of rod and cone photoreceptor cells. RPE cells regulate the renewal of the tips of photoreceptor cells among other functions. When RPE cells do not function properly, photoreceptor cells are damaged and can die, leading to decreased vision and eventual blindness as in such conditions as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. A number of stressors, including free radicals, damage RPE cells. Dr. Bazan's lab has shown that RPE cells produce NPD1 in response to oxidative stress. The focus of this research project was to further define that process.

The LSUHSC team's main participant was Jorgelina Calandria, a PhD student in the LSUHSC Neuroscience Center Graduate Program working with Dr. Bazan, along with Pranab Mukherjee, PhD, Research Assistant Professor. Calandria developed a stable cell line to explore the role of an enzyme called 15-LOX-1 that they believed might play a key role in the process of converting DHA into NPD1. They designed a series of experiments using cells with, and those deficient in, 15-LOX-1, and measured response to oxidative stress. They found that the cells deficient in 15-LOX-1 were more vulnerable and susceptible to cell
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-568-4806
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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