Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify genes associated with aging of the retina

26.06.2002


University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center researchers have found that the aging of the human retina is accompanied by distinct changes in gene expression.



Using commercially available DNA slides, a team of researchers directed by Anand Swaroop, Ph.D., have established the first-ever gene profile of the aging human retina, an important step in understanding the mechanisms of aging and its impact on vision disorders.

In the August issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Swaroop and colleagues show that retinal aging is associated, in particular, with expression changes of genes involved in stress response and energy metabolism.


The term gene expression means that in any given cell, only a portion of the genes are expressed or switched on. For example, a person’s pancreas and retina have the same genes, but only the pancreas can turn on the genes that allow it to make insulin.

Swaroop believes that the findings will help scientists understand whether age predisposes one to changes in the retina that, in turn, lead to age-related diseases. For vision researchers, one of the most pressing disorders is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive eye disease that affects the retina and results in the loss of one’s fine central vision.

"While we still don’t know what causes AMD, we do know that the strongest factors are age and family history," says. Swaroop. "We are likely to find that AMD is caused by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental risk factors."

Microarray technology is an important tool for gene profiling because it allows rapid comparison of thousands of genes, something that was unheard of even few years ago. Shigeo Yoshida, M.D., Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow in Swaroop’s laboratory, examined microarray slides containing DNA from 2,400 human genes.

After identifying the genes expressed in the retina (about half, or 1,200 genes), the researchers compared the expression of these retinal genes in young and old individuals and concluded that expression of 24 genes were altered during aging.

Swaroop wonders whether some people carry genetic variations or weaknesses that are expressed clinically later in life. For such persons, the aging process may trigger or reveal the variation, which may then lead to AMD. By contrast, a person who does not carry the variation may undergo a similar degree of genetic or cellular deterioration from aging, without triggering the disease.

A logical next step for the Kellogg researchers is to study a wider array of genes, which Swaroop hopes will lead to a broader understanding of the molecular events that modulate aging of the retina. Under Swaroop’s direction, the U-M Kellogg Eye Center has established a Gene Microarray Facility, which is now generating microarrays of thousands of eye genes.

Kara Gavin | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>