Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inhibiting microRNAs may help prevent degenerative eye disorders

Date:
June 7, 2011
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Blocking two tiny molecules of RNA -- a chemical cousin of DNA -- appears to suppress the abnormal growth of blood vessels that occurs in degenerative eye disorders, researchers have found. Their findings suggest a potential strategy to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a vascular eye disorder that affects nearly 2 million Americans and is a leading cause of blindness among older people.

Blocking two tiny molecules of RNA -- a chemical cousin of DNA -- appears to suppress the abnormal growth of blood vessels that occurs in degenerative eye disorders, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Their findings, available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest a potential strategy to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a vascular eye disorder that affects nearly 2 million Americans and is a leading cause of blindness among older people.

"MicroRNAs can affect multiple pathways involved in age-related macular degeneration," said Dr. Shusheng Wang, assistant professor of ophthalmology and pharmacology and co-senior author of the study. "Therapeutic manipulation of microRNAs 23 and 27 may give us a way to treat choroidal neovascularization in patients with degenerative retinal diseases."

In the study, researchers found that silencing the microRNA cluster members miR-23 and miR-27 hindered the excessive formation of blood vessels in the back of the eye, known as choroidal neovascularization. When these blood vessels hemorrhage and leak, it creates a sudden deterioration of central vision.

MicroRNAs are tiny pieces of genetic material that can target multiple components of signaling pathways. By interacting with other protein-making molecules in cells, they help fine-tune the expression of networks of genes and control cell function.

But microRNAs also can contribute to the excessive blood vessel formation that is responsible for vascular disorders, the current UT Southwestern study shows. That's because they stimulate the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, a process called angiogenesis, which is an important natural process in the body used for healing and reproduction.

The body usually controls angiogenesis through a precise balance of growth and inhibitory factors in healthy tissues, Dr. Wang said. When the process becomes imbalanced, however, increased angiogenesis can lead to a variety of debilitating conditions.

Previous treatments for degenerative eye disorders have focused on inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a secreted protein that stimulates blood vessel formation. VEGF has been known to be a contributing factor in vascular disease in the retina of the eye.

Anti-VEGF drugs, which are injected into the eyeball, have been used to give patients some improvement in vision. These drugs, however, have limited effectiveness in treating some forms of neovascular AMD, and also have potential side effects.

Dr. Wang said further research may show that other microRNAs might also be involved, and that targeting multiple pathways may provide benefits in the treatment of these diseases.

"We want to see if a combination of microRNAs and angiogenetic drugs have a synergetic effect on the progression of macular degeneration," Dr. Wang said.

Dr. Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology, was the study's other co-senior author. Other UT Southwestern researchers involved were Dr. Rafael Ufret-Vincenty, assistant professor of ophthalmology, Dr. Qinbo Zhou, postdoctoral fellow and lead author; Rachel Gallagher, research technician; and Dr. Xinyu Li, a visiting professor.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Q. Zhou, R. Gallagher, R. Ufret-Vincenty, X. Li, E. N. Olson, S. Wang. Regulation of angiogenesis and choroidal neovascularization by members of microRNA-232724 clusters. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; 108 (20): 8287 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1105254108

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Inhibiting microRNAs may help prevent degenerative eye disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607063636.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2011, June 7). Inhibiting microRNAs may help prevent degenerative eye disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607063636.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Inhibiting microRNAs may help prevent degenerative eye disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607063636.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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