Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Model For Retina Receptors Created

Date:
October 1, 2008
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
Discovery moves scientists a significant step closer to preventing blindness. Scientists have created the first genetic research model for a microscopic part of the eye that when missing causes blindness. The research appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

A team of scientists at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has created the first genetic research model for a microscopic part of the eye that when missing causes blindness.

Related Articles


The team led by OU scientists at Dean McGee Eye Institute also includes researchers from Harvard Medical School. The group is studying how diabetes and insulin receptors affect the eye, and in many cases cause blindness. In diabetes, the insulin receptors malfunction and scientists have yet to figure out why.

"Our hope is to test drug compounds and therapeutic agents to see if they can prolong the life of the receptor cells and either delay or prevent blindness. Therapies could include a pill or gene therapy to activate the malfunctioning receptor," said Raju Rajala, Ph.D., principal investigator on the project.

Rajala said researchers expect to have some form of therapy available within 15 years.

They are focusing on an insulin receptor in the eye's rods, which are part of the retina. The rods translate what we see into electric signals to the brain. When the receptors aren't working, blindness occurs.

To learn more about how the receptors work and how proteins and insulin play a role in their function, scientists needed a research model to test their ideas. With the new model at OU, scientists hope to find ways to significantly delay blindness or prevent it, especially in patients with diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.

"We are looking for clues to understand the progression of diabetic retinopathy so we can eventually stop it," Rajala said. "We still don't understand why the receptors malfunction or what their defense mechanism is. We needed a model to understand this process and now we have one."

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

  • Often there are no symptoms or pain in the early stages of the disease.
  • Don't wait for symptoms. Be sure to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
  • Blurred vision may occur when the macula — the part of the retina that provides sharp central vision — swells from leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema.
  • If new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye and block vision.

Proliferative Retinopathy Symptoms

At first, you will see a few specks of blood, or spots, "floating" in your vision. If spots occur, see your eye care professional as soon as possible. You may need treatment before more serious bleeding occurs. Hemorrhages tend to happen more than once, often during sleep.

Sometimes, without treatment, the spots clear, and you will see better. However, bleeding can reoccur and cause severely blurred vision. You need to be examined by your eye care professional at the first sign of blurred vision, before more bleeding occurs.

If left untreated, proliferative retinopathy can cause severe vision loss and even blindness. Also, the earlier you receive treatment, the more likely treatment will be effective.

The research appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "First Model For Retina Receptors Created." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930144220.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2008, October 1). First Model For Retina Receptors Created. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930144220.htm
University of Oklahoma. "First Model For Retina Receptors Created." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930144220.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins