21.03.2014

Scientists link cell starvation and retinal disease progression

Scientists link cell starvation and retinal disease progression

A study has discovered a possible cause for sight loss in patients affected with Retinitis Pigmentosa.

The condition, which is currently without a cure, can lead to blindness - but new data published in Nature Neuroscience suggests there may be an answer.

In healthy retinas, two types of cells - rods and cones - are present in the same tissue, sending signals when light is detected.

When the rods perish, the cones follow suit, destroying vision. But, according to senior study author Constance Cepko of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the breaking structure of the retina left by the dying rods may be preventing nutrients from reaching the cones.

This may be why they die too, she added.

"If we can find a way to supply nutrients to the cones, we might be able to preserve daylight vision in patients," Ms Cepko explained.

by Alexa Kaczka


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