Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study of how eye cells become damaged could help prevent blindness

Date:
January 22, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study provides new insight into the mechanical properties that cause the outer segment of light-sensing cells in the eye to snap under pressure. The new experimental and theoretical findings help to explain the origin of severe eye diseases and could lead to new ways of preventing blindness.

This image shows a breaking rod series.
Credit: Haeri et al.

Light-sensing cells in the eye rely on their outer segment to convert light into neural signals that allow us to see. But because of its unique cylindrical shape, the outer segment is prone to breakage, which can cause blindness in humans.

A study published by Cell Press on January 22nd in the Biophysical Journal provides new insight into the mechanical properties that cause the outer segment to snap under pressure. The new experimental and theoretical findings help to explain the origin of severe eye diseases and could lead to new ways of preventing blindness.

"To our knowledge, this is the first theory that explains how the structural rigidity of the outer segment can make it prone to damage," says senior study author Aphrodite Ahmadi of the State University of New York Cortland. "Our theory represents a significant advance in our understanding of retinal degenerative diseases."

The outer segment of photoreceptors consists of discs packed with a light-sensitive protein called rhodopsin. Discs made at nighttime are different from those produced during the day, generating a banding pattern that was first observed in frogs but is common across species. Mutations that affect photoreceptors often destabilize the outer segment and may damage its discs, leading to cell death, retinal degeneration, and blindness in humans. But until now, it was unclear which structural properties of the outer segment determine its susceptibility to damage.

To address this question, Ahmadi and her team examined tadpole photoreceptors under the microscope while subjecting them to fluid forces. They found that high-density bands packed with a high concentration of rhodopsin were very rigid, which made them more susceptible to breakage than low-density bands consisting of less rhodopsin. Their model confirmed their experimental results and revealed factors that determine the critical force needed to break the outer segment.

The findings support the idea that mutations causing rhodopsin to aggregate can destabilize the outer segment, eventually causing blindness. "Further refinement of the model could lead to novel ways to stabilize the outer segment and could delay the onset of blindness," says Ahmadi.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Mohammad Haeri, BarryE. Knox, Aphrodite Ahmadi. Modeling the Flexural Rigidity of Rod Photoreceptors. Biophysical Journal, 2013; 104 (2): 300 DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.11.3835

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Study of how eye cells become damaged could help prevent blindness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122122403.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, January 22). Study of how eye cells become damaged could help prevent blindness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122122403.htm
Cell Press. "Study of how eye cells become damaged could help prevent blindness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122122403.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama 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:
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