Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Focus on Glaucoma Origins Continues Path Toward Potential Cure

20.01.2012
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Nearly 4 million Americans have the disorder, which affects 70 million worldwide. There is no cure and no early symptoms. Once vision is lost, it’s permanent.

New findings at Georgia Tech, published in January during Glaucoma Awareness Month, explore one of the many molecular origins of glaucoma and advance research dedicated to fighting the disease.

Glaucoma is typically triggered when fluid is unable to circulate freely through the eye’s trabecular meshwork (TM) tissue. Intraocular pressure rises and damages the retina and optic nerve, which causes vision loss. In certain cases of glaucoma, this blockage results from a build-up of the protein myocilin. Georgia Tech Chemistry and Biochemistry Assistant Professor Raquel Lieberman focused on examining the structural properties of these myocilin deposits.

“We were surprised to discover that both genetically defected as well as normal, or wild-type (WT), myocilin are readily triggered to produce very stable fibrous residue containing a pathogenic material called amyloid,” said Lieberman, whose work was published in the most recent Journal of Molecular Biology.

Amyloid formation, in which a protein is converted from its normal form into fibers, is recognized as a major contributor to numerous non-ocular disorders, including Alzheimer’s, certain forms of diabetes and Mad Cow disease (in cattle). Scientists are currently studying ways to destroy amyloid fibrils as an option for treating these diseases. Further research, based on Lieberman’s findings, could potentially result in drugs that prevent or stop myocilin amyloid formation or destroy existing fibrils in glaucoma patients.

Until this point, amyloids linked to glaucoma had been restricted to the retinal area. In those cases, amyloids kill retina cells, leading to vision loss, but don’t affect intraocular pressure.

“The amyloid-containing myocilin deposits we discovered kill cells that maintain the integrity of TM tissue,” said Lieberman. “In addition to debris from dead cells, the fibrils themselves may also form an obstruction in the TM tissue. Together, these mechanisms may hasten the increase of intraocular pressure that impairs vision.”

Together with her research team, Lieberman produced WT and genetically defected myocilin variants that had been documented in patients who develop glaucoma in childhood or early adulthood. The experiments were conducted in collaboration with Georgia Tech Biology Professor Ingeborg Schmidt-Krey and Stanford Genetics Professor Douglas Vollrath. Three Georgia Tech students also participated in the research: Susan Orwig (Ph.D. graduate, Chemistry and Biochemistry), Chris Perry (current undergraduate, Biochemistry) and Laura Kim (master's graduate, Biology).

The National Institutes of Health (award number R01EY021205 from the National Eye Institute) funded the research. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Eye Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

Jason Maderer | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>