Algae may be the solution to blindness
(PhysOrg.com) -- The song about three blind mice may just be a song of the past according to new research presented by neuroscientist Alan Horsager from the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the University of Southern California with the report set to appear in Molecular Therapy. Using genes from algae injected into the retina, Horsager hopes this research will lead to a treatment for some forms of blindness.
Over 15 million people suffer from some form of blindness, with the most common conditions being retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Both of these conditions are caused when the photoreceptors in the eye are damaged. The photoreceptors are responsible for transforming light entering the eye into electrical impulses, but when damaged, the brain is unable to receive this information.
Horsagers team is working with gene therapy and the gene responsible for making Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in algae. This photosensitive protein in the algae is what helps direct them toward a source of light.
The retina of the human eye is made up of three cellular layers. The first layer is the photoreceptors, which is what is damaged in people with RP and AMD. The second layer of the retina is made of bipolar cells which work to transmit information between the photoreceptors and the third layer, the ganglion. The ganglion is what then transmits light signals to the brain.
Horsagers plan is to use the bipolar cells and make them work as photoreceptors as well. By injecting the algae gene into the bipolar cells, the idea is to have them produce the ChR2 and operate as a photoreceptor. With the bipolar cells able to sense light, they would then be able to transmit this information to the ganglion, which would then in turn transmit it to the brain.
The teams tested this on groups of mice and found that ten weeks after the injection of the genes, the bipolar cells were producing the ChR2 protein. They then put the mice in a maze of water with six possible paths with one having a ledge for the mice to get out of the water. Shining a light through the pass with the ledge, the gene-treated mice were able to find the path 2.5 times faster than the untreated blind mice.
The team is continuing its research and hopes to begin clinical trials in humans within the next two years.
More information: Doroudchi, M.M., Greenberg, K.P, Liu, J., Silka, K.A., Boyden, E.S., Lockridge, J.A., Arman, A.C., Janani, R., Boye, S.E., Boye, S.L., Gordon, G.M., Matteo, B.C., Sampath, A.P., Hauswirth, W.W., Horsager, A. Virally-Delivered Channelrhodopsin-2 Safely and Effectively Restores Visual Function in Multiple Models of Blindness. (Accepted, Molecular Therapy).
© 2010 PhysOrg.com
- Gene therapy restores vision to mice with retinal degeneration Oct 16, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Cats' eye diseases genetically linked to diseases in humans Mar 04, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists successfully awaken sleeping stem cells Mar 18, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Sight recovery in mice Jun 24, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- The difference between eye cells is... sumo? Mar 09, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Since the discovery of Prontosil in 1932, sulfonamide antibiotics have been used to combat a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, from acne to chlamydia and pneumonia. However, their side effects can include serious neurological ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Spanish researchers have discovered that the daily clearance of neutrophils from the body stimulates the release of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, according to a report published today ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to the results of a multicentre randomised double blind trial presented today at Heart Failure 2013 congress. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality ...
15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 5
(HealthDay)—Animals make great companions for senior citizens, but elderly people who always drive with a pet in the car are far more likely to crash than those who never drive with a pet, researchers have ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
Heart failure accelerates the aging process and brings on early andropausal syndrome (AS), according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. AS, also referred to as male 'menopause', was four times ...
15 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
Mortality and length of stay are highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight, according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. The analysis of nearly 1 million ...
15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—Department of Justice lawyers have again asked a federal appeals court in New York to delay lifting age restrictions and prescription requirements on an emergency contraceptive popularly known as the morning-after ...
15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0