Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cats' Eye Diseases Genetically Linked to Diseases in Humans

06.03.2009
MU discovery could help identify therapy for humans and cats with forms of retinitis pigmentosa

About one in 3,500 people are affected with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a disease of the retina's visual cells that eventually leads to blindness. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has identified a genetic link between cats and humans for two different forms of RP. This discovery will help scientists develop gene-based therapies that will benefit both cats and humans.

"The same genetic mutations that cause retinal blindness in humans also cause retinal blindness in cats," said Kristina Narfstrom, the Ruth M. Kraeuchi-Missouri Professor in Veterinary Ophthalmology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Now, cats with these mutations can be used as important animal models to evaluate the efficiency of gene therapy. In addition, the eye is an ideal organ to use as we examine the potential of gene replacement intervention because it offers an accessible and confined environment."

Researchers examined the genetic mutations in two groups of cats; one with a congenital form of RP and another with a late-onset form and were able to identify the genes responsible for both forms of the disease in cats. In the study, researchers found that cats with the late-onset form of the disease have a mutation in the CEP290 gene, which is the same mutation found in humans with Joubert syndrome and Leber's congenital amaurosis. In both of these diseases, the genetic mutations result in changes in the function and structure of the photoreceptors. A photoreceptor is a nerve cell found in the eye's retina that is capable of phototransduction, or the process by which light is converted into electrical signals. The changes in the photoreceptors result in cell death, which lead to blindness.

"Cats are excellent models because they have relatively large eyes that are comparable to those of human babies. The retinal changes that occur and the progression to blindness in cats is similar to what happens in the human disease," Narfstrom said. "As a surgeon, I can use the same treatment methods and tools in cats that they use in humans."

Human autosomal recessive RP is among the most common cause of retinal degeneration and blindness, with no therapeutic intervention available. Initially it leads to night blindness, then loss of peripheral vision and, with progression, there is also a loss of central vision.

Like humans, Abyssinian cats with the CEP290 mutation have normal vision at birth but develop early changes in the interior of their eyes by the time they are approximately 2 years old. The cats with the congenital form of the disease are blind from birth with severe changes in the interior of their eyes after only a couple of months.

In May, Narfstrom will present her latest findings during the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2009 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. An earlier study, "Mutation in CEP290 Discovered for Cat Model of Human Retinal Degeneration," was published in the Journal of Heredity.

Story Contact: Kelsey Jackson, (573) 882-8353, JacksonKN@missouri.edu

Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.missouri.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>