University of Alberta researchers discovered that a zebrafish's stem cells can selectively regenerate damaged photoreceptor cells.
Lead U of A researcher Ted Allison says that for some time geneticists have known that unlike humans, stem cells in zebrafish can replace damaged cells involved in many components of eyesight. Rods and cones are the most important photoreceptors. In humans, rods provide us with night vision while cones give us a full colour look at the world during the day-time.
What was not known says Allison was whether stem cells could be instructed to only replace the cones in its retina. This could have important implications for human eyesight.
"This is the first time in an animal research model that stem cells have only repaired damaged cones," said Allison. "For people with damaged eyesight repairing the cones is most important because it would restore day-time colour vision.
The researchers say that to date almost all success in regenerating photoreceptor cells has been limited to rods not cones. Most of these previous experiments were conducted on nocturnal rodents, animals that require good night vision so they have far more rods than cones.
"This shows us that when cones die in a cone-rich retina, it is primarily cones that regenerate," said Allison. "This suggests the tissue environment provides cues to instruct stem cell how to react."
The researchers say this shows some hope for stem cell therapy that could regenerate damaged cones in people, especially in the cone-rich regions of the retina that provide daytime/colour vision.
Allison says the next step for his team is to identify the particular gene in zebrafish gene that activates repair of damaged cones.
The research was led by U of A Biological Sciences researcher Ted Allison. The researcher's website can be found at www.biology.ualberta.ca/Allison_Lab. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC). The paper was published Jan. 30 in the journal PLOS ONE.
Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
Cancer: Molecularly shutting down cancer cachexia
30.08.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Bringing artificial enzymes closer to nature
30.08.2016 | Universität Basel
Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...
Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.
In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...
Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.
Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...
Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...
A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.
25.08.2016 | Event News
24.08.2016 | Event News
12.08.2016 | Event News
30.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
30.08.2016 | Life Sciences
30.08.2016 | Life Sciences