Navigation Links
Toronto researchers discover novel circulation in human eye, new glaucoma treatment target

Researchers at the University of Toronto, St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre have discovered a previously unidentified form of circulation within the human eye which may provide important new insights into glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.

For over a century, the eye has been considered to lack lymphatics, a circulation responsible for pumping fluid and waste out of tissues. The inability to clear that fluid from the eye is linked to glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness affecting over 66 million people worldwide.

"We challenged this assumption about a lack of lymphatics and discovered specialized lymphatic channels in the human eye," said Prof. Yeni Ycel, a pathologist-scientist in U of T's Faculty of Medicine and St. Michael's Hospital, and lead author of the study which appears in the current issue of Experimental Eye Research.

Glaucoma is a degenerative disease believed to be caused by the death of nerve cells at the back of the eye and in vision centers of the brain. It is often associated with elevated pressure in the eye. Current treatments for glaucoma rely on eye drops or surgery to lower eye pressure either by reducing fluid formation or improving fluid drainage from the eye.

"Good vision depends on the stable flow of fluid into and out of the eye. Any disturbance of this delicate fluid balance can lead to high eye pressure and irreversible glaucoma damage," said study co-author Dr. Neeru Gupta, Director of the Glaucoma Unit and Nerve Protection Unit at St. Michael's Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology at U of T.

The lymphatic circulation, distinct from blood circulation, carries a colorless fluid called, lymph containing extra water, proteins and antigens through lymphatic vessels to lymph nodes and then to the blood stream. This circulation is critical for the drainage of the fluid from tissues, clearance of proteins and immune monitoring of the tissue.

Using molecular tools and three-dimensional reconstruction, the team of researchers identified a rich network of lymphatic channels in the ciliary body of the human eye. These studies were confirmed by electron microscopy.

The discovery of a lymphatic circulation in the eye overthrows the idea that the eye is an immune privileged site due to the lack of lymphatics and has major implications for understanding eye inflammations and eye tumor spread, among other eye disorders.

"This 'uveolymphatic' circulation plays a role in the clearance of fluid from the eye, making it highly relevant to glaucoma. This discovery is exciting because it means we can focus on innovative treatment strategies for patients with glaucoma by specifically targeting this new circulation to lower eye pressure," said Dr. Gupta.

According to the researchers, future studies will be directed at better understanding how to manipulate the lymphatic circulation in the eye. "It's clear that if we want to develop new strategies to prevent blindness, we need to challenge existing beliefs, and hopefully open the door to new treatments for eye disease," said Prof. Ycel, who also serves as Director of the Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory in U of T's Department of Ophthalmology and research Scientist at the Keenan Research Center at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, SMH.

Glaucoma is expected to affect 80 million people worldwide by 2020. Although the disease can affect anybody, those with elevated eye pressure, the elderly, blacks and persons with a family member with glaucoma are at greatest risk. Other risk factors that may be associated with glaucoma include diabetes, high blood pressure and near-sightedness.


Contact: April Kemick
University of Toronto

Related medicine news :

1. Response Biomedical Corporation Receives Conditional Listing Approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange
2. American Transplant Congress 2008 - Critical New Data to be Revealed in Toronto
3. Haemacure to Present at the BioFinance 2008 Conference to be held at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre, May 6 - 8, 2008
4. WorldHeart Announces Voluntary Delisting from the Toronto Stock Exchange
5. International Dental Research Association meets in Toronto
6. Mt. Sinai Services Toronto Becomes an Xceed Authorized Gene-Expression Service Provider Using Ziplex(R) System
7. Listing Review initiated by the Toronto Stock Exchange
8. Toronto Cosmetic Clinic Offers Axis Three Breast Enlargement Imaging for the First Time in Canada
9. People who wear rose-colored glasses see more, University of Toronto study shows
10. Anpath Group, Inc. Announces Selection of its Cleaner by the Toronto Transit System
11. Toronto researchers discovery points to a new treatment avenue for acute myeloid leukemia
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Preparing for the LDT Regulation:, CLIA Won’t Satisfy the FDA, ... , FDA has long asserted that design and manufacture of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) ... not meet the device regulations. , Come up short in an inspection and the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Richey, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... deems a growing epidemic as deaths from prescription opioids in the United States grew ... and cocaine. In 2013 alone, opioids were involved in 37 percent of all fatal ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... American Family Care (AFC), the ... of a holiday pop-up clinic located in Metro Atlanta’s North Point Mall. The clinic ... and different way. The location is scheduled to operate through Dec. 24. , Holiday ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Cold Shoulder , LLC launched ... Kickstarter last week and hit their goal of $20,000 in under 10 hours. ... aims to bring the new PRO Weight Loss Vest to the market. , The PRO ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... its exceptional customer service: the TrustDale certification. The award recognizes good companies for ... stone honing , tile and grout, and hard surface restoration company earned this ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 F1000Workspace ... scientists - since it was launched just six months ago. ... management and authoring platform for scientists - since it was ... references have been loaded on to F1000Workspace - ... - since it was launched just six months ago. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 iRhythm Technologies, Inc. , ... care, today announced that it will participate in the 27th Annual ... New York, NY . Kevin King ... Tuesday December 1, 2015 at 8:50am ET. ... . --> . --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... The uptake of recently approved and pipeline premium products for Type 1 ... 2021, says GBI Research . --> ... Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM), will be a key driver of market growth to ... The uptake of recently approved and pipeline premium products for Type ... to 2021, says GBI Research . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: