Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cornea gene discovery reveals why humans see clearly

Date:
December 19, 2011
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
A new study has identified a gene that plays a major role in maintaining clarity of the cornea in humans and mice -- and could possibly be used as gene therapy to treat diseases that cause blindness.

A transparent cornea is essential for vision, which is why the eye has evolved to nourish the cornea without blood vessels. But for millions of people around the world, diseases of the eye or trauma spur the growth of blood vessels and can cause blindness.

Related Articles


A new Northwestern Medicine study has identified a gene that plays a major role in maintaining clarity of the cornea in humans and mice -- and could possibly be used as gene therapy to treat diseases that cause blindness. The paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We believe we've discovered the master regulator gene that prevents the formation of blood vessels in the eye and protects the clarity of the cornea," said lead author Tsutomu Kume, associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a researcher at Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute.

The existence of the gene, FoxC1, was previously known, but its role in maintaining a clear cornea is a new finding. Working with a special breed of mice that are missing this gene, Kume and colleagues found abnormal vascular formations, or blood vessels, streaking their corneas and blocking light.

When Kume discovered the corneal blood vessels in the mutant mice, he called a collaborator at the University of Alberta in Canada, Ordan Lehmann, MD, professor of ophthalmology and medical genetics.

Lehmann found that his patients who have a single copy of this mutated FoxC1 gene -- and who have congenital glaucoma -- also have abnormal blood vessel growth in their eyes.

"The exciting thing is by showing the loss of FoxC1 causes vascularization of the cornea, it means increasing levels of the gene might help prevent the abnormal growth of blood vessels, potentially in multiple eye disorders that cause blindness," said Lehmann, a coauthor on the paper. "That's the hope." One possible use might be in corneal transplants, he said, where the growth of new blood vessels onto the transplanted cornea is a major problem.

Kume next plans to test the gene therapy in mice to see if injecting FoxC1 inhibits the formation of blood vessels in the cornea.

The research is funded by National Institutes of Health and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. The original article was written by Marla Paul. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Seo, H. P. Singh, P. M. Lacal, A. Sasman, A. Fatima, T. Liu, K. M. Schultz, D. W. Losordo, O. J. Lehmann, T. Kume. Forkhead box transcription factor FoxC1 preserves corneal transparency by regulating vascular growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1109540109

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Cornea gene discovery reveals why humans see clearly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212153121.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2011, December 19). Cornea gene discovery reveals why humans see clearly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212153121.htm
Northwestern University. "Cornea gene discovery reveals why humans see clearly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212153121.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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