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Researchers find new insights into inherited retinal disease
Date:1/17/2010

on in the mouse model that they created. This model resembled the most common form of inherited blindness, which is due to degeneration of the retina at an early age.

Further investigation revealed that retinal photoreceptor cells in the mouse model were most likely dying as a result of a toxic accumulation of the very photopigment that receives light signals in the eye and is crucial for normal vision. This finding sheds light on one of the potential causes of retinal degeneration, protein mis-trafficking, which has been of fundamental interest in the study of inherited blindness, according to Gleeson.

The group then tested whether mutations in genes might contribute to retinal blindness in other related diseases. Their analysis of a group of European patients suggests that this is the case. The scientists found that patients carrying a particular genetic alteration were between five and ten times more likely to have retinal blindness, and that some forms of this blindness may be particularly amenable to gene therapy.

"These results may lead to better screening and future therapies for congenital blindness," said Louie. "As routine sequencing of the human genome becomes more and more feasible, studies like ours will help pinpoint which genetic alterations increase the risk of having a certain disease, or the likelihood that your children will have the disease."


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Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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