Researchers have developed the first animal model simulating the eye complications associated with the thyroid condition Graves' disease, a breakthrough that could pave the way for better treatments, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's journal Endocrinology.
Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to produce antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. The condition causes the thyroid gland to become overactive and produce too much thyroid hormone. If left untreated, it can lead to heart failure or osteoporosis.
Graves' disease is most common in women. About 1 percent of Caucasian women have autoimmune thyroid disease where the thyroid is either over- or underactive. Among those who have Graves' disease, more than half develop eye complications, according to the study's lead author, J. Paul Banga, PhD, of King's College London School of Medicine in the United Kingdom. These complications include Graves' orbitopathy, where swelling of tissue behind the eyes causes them to bulge outward. The condition can cause pain and lead to blindness.
"Current treatment options for eye complications associated with Graves' disease are limited," Banga said. "Better treatments are needed for Graves' orbitopathy to reduce the risks of permanent disfigurement and social stigma. Having an animal model to test preventative treatments could lead to important advances that will ultimately benefit people with Graves' disease."
The condition is currently treated with steroids, which can cause undesirable side effects such as weight gain and osteoporosis.
Although researchers have developed animal models of Graves' disease in the past, these models were challenging to replicate and none were able to simulate the eye problems seen in people with Graves' disease.
To develop the new model, researchers injected mice with small circular, double-stranded DNA molecules called plasmids. Over the course of three months, scientists used electronic pulses to ensure the DNA molecules were absorbed into the cells of each mouse. Mice that underwent this procedure developed eye problems like those seen in human patients who have Graves' disease, while the control group of mice did not develop these complications.
"The new animal model opens the door for scientists to conduct needed mechanistic studies and identify preventative therapies to minimize this painful and debilitating condition," Banga said.
Other researchers working on the study include: S. Moshkelgosha of King's College London School of Medicine; P-W. So and N. Deasy of King's College London; and S. Diaz-Cano of King's College Hospital NHS Trust in London.
The article, "Retrobulbar Inflammation, Adipogenesis and Acute Orbital Congestion in a Preclinical Female Mouse Model of Graves' Orbitopathy Induced by Thyrotropin Receptor Plasmid-in Vivo Electroporation," will be published in the September issue of Endocrinology.
Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 16,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at http://www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.
Jenni Glenn Gingery | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.endocrine.org
Further Reports about: autoimmune disorder > autoimmune thyroid disease > DNA > DNA molecule > DNA molecules > Endocrine > eye complications > eye problems > Graves' disease > Medicine > plasmids > thyroid gland
More articles from Health and Medicine:
Human Stem Cells Predict Efficacy of Alzheimer Drugs
06.12.2013 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Recurring memory traces boost long-lasting memories
05.12.2013 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born.
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The young ...
06.12.2013 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News