University of Alberta researchers discovered that a zebrafish's stem cells can selectively regenerate damaged photoreceptor cells.
Lead U of A researcher Ted Allison says that for some time geneticists have known that unlike humans, stem cells in zebrafish can replace damaged cells involved in many components of eyesight. Rods and cones are the most important photoreceptors. In humans, rods provide us with night vision while cones give us a full colour look at the world during the day-time.
What was not known says Allison was whether stem cells could be instructed to only replace the cones in its retina. This could have important implications for human eyesight.
"This is the first time in an animal research model that stem cells have only repaired damaged cones," said Allison. "For people with damaged eyesight repairing the cones is most important because it would restore day-time colour vision.
The researchers say that to date almost all success in regenerating photoreceptor cells has been limited to rods not cones. Most of these previous experiments were conducted on nocturnal rodents, animals that require good night vision so they have far more rods than cones.
"This shows us that when cones die in a cone-rich retina, it is primarily cones that regenerate," said Allison. "This suggests the tissue environment provides cues to instruct stem cell how to react."
The researchers say this shows some hope for stem cell therapy that could regenerate damaged cones in people, especially in the cone-rich regions of the retina that provide daytime/colour vision.
Allison says the next step for his team is to identify the particular gene in zebrafish gene that activates repair of damaged cones.
The research was led by U of A Biological Sciences researcher Ted Allison. The researcher's website can be found at www.biology.ualberta.ca/Allison_Lab. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC). The paper was published Jan. 30 in the journal PLOS ONE.
Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
How to become a T follicular helper cell
31.07.2015 | La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics
31.07.2015 | University of California - Berkeley
Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.
What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...
Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.
The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight
A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.
By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
25.06.2015 | Event News
31.07.2015 | Trade Fair News
31.07.2015 | Transportation and Logistics
31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy