Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fish oil may help protect against retinal degenerative diseases

06.04.2006
A invited paper published in Trends in Neuroscience this week by Nicolas G. Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, reports on the role that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil play in protecting cells in the retina from degenerative diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of loss of vision in those older than 65.

The paper is titled, Cell survival matters: docosahexaenoic acid signaling, neuroprotection and photoreceptors.

In these blinding eye diseases, photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) degenerate and die. Although this process can be triggered by many different things, one of the most significant protective factors may be the close association of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and the amount of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in them. The main role of RPE cells is photoreceptor maintenance–they conduct the daily shedding, internalization, and degradation of the tips of the photoreceptor outer segments. It now appears that RPE cells are also key to the survival of photoreceptor cells.

Both photoreceptor and RPE cell types are normally exposed to potentially damaging factors such as sunlight and high oxygen tension.

How the cells avoid damage from these factors and others has been a mystery, up to now. Dr. Bazan’s LSUHSC group, in close collaboration with colleagues at Harvard, has made several key discoveries that are beginning to provide answers to this complex riddle. One of them is the importance of DHA. RPE cells cope with sunlight and oxidative stress, as well as trauma, by using antioxidants like Vitamin E, present in the cells. Part of the RPE cells’ response is to activate the synthesis of a major neuroprotective compound, which Dr. Bazan and colleagues discovered, called neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1). NPD1 inhibits genes causing inflammation and cell death that oxidative stress and other triggers turn on. RPE cells contain the omega-3 fatty acid family member, DHA, which Dr. Bazan and colleagues found is a precursor to NPD1. RPE cells regulate the uptake, conservation, and delivery of DHA to the photoreceptor cells. DHA, known to be in short supply in patients with retinitis pigmentosa and Usher’s syndrome, promotes protective cell signaling by facilitating the expression of helpful rather than destructive proteins as well as stimulating the production of NPD1. DHA and NPD1 also decrease the production of damaging free radicals. DHA has been shown by Dr. Bazan to promote survival and inhibit cell death not only of photoreceptor cells, but also of neurons in an experimental model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Questions remain, including the identification of another receptor believed to be an important pathway for NPD1, more information about the signals that control the formation of NPD1, and if NPD1 or a synthetic counterpart might be effective when administered therapeutically.

"Because the early clinical manifestations of most retinal degeneration precedes massive photoreceptor cell death, it is important to define the initial crucial events," notes Dr. Bazan. "This knowledge might be applicable to the design of novel therapeutic interventions to halt or slow disease progression."

Leslie Capo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lsuhsc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

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

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>