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!
Mechanism Discovered to Activate the Immune System against Bacteria and Regulate the Microbiome
13.02.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.
DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Life Sciences