Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers identify genes associated with aging of the retina


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 First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Deep down fracking wells, microbial communities thrive

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions

25.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Phenotype at the push of a button

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>