The pig model was developed by researchers in the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and at the National Swine Resource and Research Center at the University of Missouri.
"We have previously relied mostly on rodent models to study the development and progression of this disease, and although very important insights have been obtained, rodent eyes are much smaller than human eyes and they lack some important retinal structures, so the development of a large animal model of RP is an important step forward in the research of this blinding disease," said Henry J. Kaplan, MD, Evans Professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Louisville, and senior investigator on this study. "This new tool, developed in the miniature swine, should allow important progress in the development of novel treatments for this disease."The researchers used miniature pigs, which weigh about 150 pounds at maturity, because they are much more manageable than the larger, domestic pig.
"Pigs have become an important tool in helping researchers understand many human diseases," said Randall S. Prather, PhD, distinguished professor of reproductive biotechnology in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and investigator on the study. "Additionally, the miniature swine are much easier to handle than their larger kin and don't present researchers with as many challenges. It's important that we look for these new avenues for research as we continue our search for cures to some of the world's most prevalent diseases."
Researchers used an abnormal gene, RHO P23H, the most common cause of autosomal dominant RP, in which affected individuals have a 50/50 chance of passing the disease on to their children. They inserted the mutant gene into the nucleus of miniature pig embryos, which were then transferred into surrogate mothers for gestation. The offspring expressed the mutant gene that causes RP and their eyes showed classic features of the eye disease. This animal model will now be used to screen the efficacy of various novel therapies for this disease, including stem cell transplantation, drug therapy, gene therapy and the retinal prosthesis.
"We now have a model of RP that mimics human disease in a large animal," Kaplan said. "These pigs will be on the front line of the development of new therapies for this devastating disease."
Retinitis pigmentosa affects about 1 in 4000 Americans and can cause retinal degeneration, which leads to night blindness, loss of peripheral vision, and ultimately total vision loss.
Other investigators involved in this study include Maureen A. McCall, Juan P. Fernandez de Castro, Wei Wang, Jennifer M. Noel and Paul J. DeMarco of the University of Louisville; Patricia Bray-Ward and Cecilia Rios of the University of Nevada; Jason W. Ross of Iowa State University; Bryan W. Jones and Robert E. Marc of the University of Utah; and Jianguo Zhao, Melissa Samuel, Liang Zhou and Eric Walters of the University of Missouri.
Lauren Williams | EurekAlert!
Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences