Hoping to prevent blindness in premature babies, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein that responds to oxygen levels in cells and tissues and also affects the developing eye.
Premature birth carries the risk of multiple disabilities, including retinopathy of prematurity, or ROP. ROP affects the retina, the part of the eye that detects light before it is transformed in the brain to an image. ROP babies have poor vision, and in many cases, go blind.
In a study to be published online and in the March issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Dr. Joseph Garcia, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, and colleagues, have identified a protein in mice called HIF-2a, which is important in retina formation. Controlling this protein, which is also found in humans, may help doctors treat or even prevent ROP before it happens.
Megha Satyanarayana | EurekAlert!
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