Navigation Links
Scientists Discover a Role for the Growth Factor TGF-beta in Maintaining Health of Retinal Blood Vessels
Date:4/7/2009

BOSTON, April 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have found that the growth factor known as TGF-beta is essential to the health of blood vessels in the retina and that blocking it can cause retinal dysfunction. These findings, published in the April 2 issue of PLoS ONE, may have an important impact on the prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

"These results are significant because they add to our understanding of the molecules that help to maintain blood vessels in a healthy state," says Patricia D'Amore, PhD, senior scientist at Schepens and principal investigator of the study, who adds that this information may be useful in understanding the changes that occur in the retinal microvasculature prior to the development of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

"Insight into the role of this growth factor may also help clinicians monitor the use of systemic drugs targeting TGF-beta, which is elevated in a number of conditions (such as cancer and fibrotic diseases) to limit any vision problems that might occur as a side effects," adds Tony Walshe, PhD, the first author of the study and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the D'Amore's laboratory team.

Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels in the body and the site at which oxygen and nutrients are transferred from the blood to the tissues. A capillary is composed of an endothelial cell, which forms the lining of the small tube, and a pericyte, which wraps around the outside of the tube. Scientists have long believed that communication between these two cell types is necessary to maintain blood vessel structure and function.

According to Walshe, the goal of the PLoS ONE study was to determine if TGF-beta plays a role in keeping blood vessels functioning normally. In previous experiments using tissue cultures, the D'Amore laboratory had identified TGF-beta as a protein that results from the communication between the two cell types and which they use to maintain the health of the small blood vessels. In the current study, the team wanted to confirm that finding in animals.

To do that, they injected mice with a virus that produces large quantities of soluble endoglin, a protein that would circulate, and then bind to and inhibit TGF-beta. When they examined the retinas of treated mice, the team found clear evidence that retinal blood vessels were losing their integrity -- blood was not moving efficiently through the smaller vessels into the retina tissue, and fluid was leaking out of the vessels, which does not happen when the vessels are functioning properly. These defects led to the death of ganglion cells (nerve cells in the innermost part of the retina) and a loss of visual function.

According to D'Amore and Walshe, the demonstration of the role played by TGF-beta is one more piece of a very complex set of controls that keeps blood vessels and the retina healthy.

Future studies are aimed at exploring what other molecules are involved in maintaining healthy blood vessels and how these relate to the development of microvascular diseases.

Other authors of the study include: Magali Saint-Geniez, Arindel SR Maharaj, Eiichi Sekiyama & Angel E. Maldonado, also of the Schepens Eye Research Institute.

To review the article, go to: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005149

Schepens Eye Research institute is an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and the largest independent eye research institute in the nation. For additional information about the Institute, go to: www.schepens.harvard.edu.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Schepens Eye Research Institute
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Neuroscientists Offer Hope for Breast Cancer Patients Suffering From Chemobrain
2. ImQuest Scientists Present Important HIV Microbicide Development Results at Microbicides 2008 in Delhi, India
3. Infant Vaccines Produce Autism Symptoms in New Primate Study by University of Pittsburgh Scientists
4. Brain Stem Cells Can Be Awakened, Say Schepens Scientists
5. Tengion Scientists Publish Key Preclinical Findings Demonstrating the Benefits of Organ Regeneration Vs. Repair
6. Scientists Reveal Roadmap to Brain Health That Can Be Passed Down to Future Generations: Exercise, Omega-3, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12
7. Battelle Scientists Named on Patent for Making Oxygen From Light and Water
8. Gene Found Activated in 70% of Prostate Cancer Cases, George Washington University Medical Center Scientists Report
9. 42 Top U.S. Scientists and Specialists Explore Cutting-Edge Innovations to Defend America From Dangerous Zoonotic Diseases
10. Scientists Unmask Genetic Markers Associated With Psoriasis
11. Scientists Discover Why Teeth Form in a Single Row
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced ... as its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This ... best possible value to their clients by offering ... The preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC ... for MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made an ... current process. Many of them do not even offer this ... and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able ... such a high cost that the majority of today,s patients ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply ... health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that ... Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for ... popular and highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... surgery procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state ... procedures, but also many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support ... as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):