Distinctive developmental origin for a drainage tube in the eye

July 22, 2014
eye

A Jackson Laboratory based research team has conducted a comprehensive exploration of an eye structure known as Schlemm's canal: a key gatekeeper for the proper flow of eye fluid, presenting a number of insights relevant to glaucoma and other diseases.

For the study publishing July 22 in the Open Access journal PLOS Biology, the researchers at JAX and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston developed a new, "whole-mount," three-dimensional approach to analyse mouse models that have been engineered to host fluorescent proteins, to determine how Schlemm's canal forms in the eye and in relation to neighbouring tissues.

Due to its roles in fluid flow and intraocular pressure, Schlemm's canal is directly involved in glaucoma, a blinding disease that affects more than 70 million people worldwide.

The report, according to first author Krishnakumar Kizhatil, Ph.D., an associate research scientist in the laboratory of JAX Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Simon W.M. John, Ph.D., "provides new understanding and tools that will facilitate molecular understanding of Schlemm's canal and its critical—but poorly understood—roles in ocular physiology, immunity and health."

The researchers show that Schlemm's canal forms from blood vessels by a novel process of vascular development that they name canalogenesis. Canalogenesis has some similarities to previously established processes of vascular development—namely angiogenesis, vasculogenesis and lymphangiogenesis—but also has unique features that make it distinct from each of them. They also identify the first molecule to be functionally implicated in early Schlemm's canal development, namely the KDR receptor, which is also known to play a key role in .

Importantly, the research demonstrates that the lining this drainage tube (called SECs) are novel, having a blend of properties of both of blood and lymphatic endothelial cells. "Thus, Schlemm's canal is a unique vessel with endothelial cells that are highly specialized for its complex functions," Kizhatil says. "This resolves a long-standing controversy about the cellular phenotype of SECs."

Study coauthor Jeffrey K. Marchant, Ph.D., a Tufts research assistant professor and a visiting investigator in the John lab, comments, "This study lays a critical new foundation for determining the functions of Schlemm's canal both in maintaining ocular health and when things go wrong in glaucoma."

Explore further: New eye layer has possible link to glaucoma

More information: Kizhatil K, Ryan M, Marchant JK, Henrich S, John SWM (2014) Schlemm's Canal Is a Unique Vessel with a Combination of Blood Vascular and Lymphatic Phenotypes that Forms by a Novel Developmental Process. PLoS Biol 12(7): e1001912. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001912

Related Stories

New eye layer has possible link to glaucoma

February 16, 2014
A new layer in the human cornea—discovered by researchers at The University of Nottingham last year—plays a vital role in the structure of the tissue that controls the flow of fluid from the eye, research has shown.

Research lends new insights on conditions for new blood vessel formation

July 3, 2014
Angiogenesis, the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, is essential to the body's development. As organs grow, vascular networks must grow with them to feed new cells and remove their waste. The same process, ...

New insights on conditions for new blood vessel formation

June 25, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Angiogenesis, the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, is essential to the body's development. As organs grow, vascular networks must grow with them to feed new cells and remove their ...

Targeted X-ray treatment of mice prevents glaucoma

March 19, 2012
Jackson Laboratory researchers have demonstrated that a single, targeted x-ray treatment of an individual eye in young, glaucoma-prone mice provided that eye with apparently life-long and typically complete protection from ...

Recommended for you

Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

August 17, 2017
Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, ...

Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer

August 17, 2017
A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally ...

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicine

August 17, 2017
A new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers showing the consequence of their corresponding protein levels for overall patient survival. The difference in expression patterns ...

Female mouse embryos actively remove male reproductive systems

August 17, 2017
A protein called COUP-TFII determines whether a mouse embryo develops a male reproductive tract, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The ...

New technique overcomes genetic cause of infertility

August 17, 2017
Scientists have created healthy offspring from genetically infertile male mice, offering a potential new approach to tackling a common genetic cause of human infertility.

Inhibiting a protein found to reduce progression of Alzheimer's and ALS in mice

August 17, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with Genetech Inc. and universities in Hamburg and San Francisco has found that inhibiting the creation of a protein leads to a reduction in the progression of Alzheimer's disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.