A research of‘University of Melbourne found out how retinal immune cells change during diabetes, which can lead to new treatments that can be used early in the disease, well before any vision loss.
The new study could form the basis for the development of life-changing and impact-limiting therapies diabetic eye disease, a condition that could potentially affect an estimated 1.7 million Australians with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The results of the Research have been published in the scientific journal PNAS.
Retinal immune cells: some hints on the research
“Until recently, it was thought that immune cells of the nervous system existed quietly, responding only when injury or disease occurred. Our discovery broadens our knowledge of what these cells do and shows a very unusual mechanism by which blood vessels are regulated. For the first time, immune cells have been implicated in the control of blood vessels and blood flow “, said the co-author, the professor Erica Fletcher.
According to Diabetes Australia, nearly all people with type 1 diabetes and over 60% of those with type 2 diabetes will develop some form of diabetic eye disease within 20 years of being diagnosed. With 280 other people developing the disease every day, the breakthrough has major implications.
The research team found that a specific type of immune cell called microglia, contacts both blood vessels and neurons in the retina and is able to modify blood flow to meet the needs of neurons.
Professor Fletcher and co-author, Dr. Andrew Jobling, they identified the chemical signal by which immune cells communicate with blood vessels and showed that regulation of blood vessel immune cells is abnormal in diabetes, a disease known to affect blood vessels in the eye. The studies used preclinical animal models and a number of imaging methods that allowed the researchers to see retinal immune cells in a living eye.
“We also isolated retinal immune cells from groups of normal and diabetic animals and analyzed their genome to identify how these cells communicate with blood vessels. Finally, we used a range of pharmacological tools to examine how blood vessels change in response to activation of the retinal immune system.“Explained Dr Jobling.
Fletcher said the findings highlight a new way to control and potentially prevent retinal changes in diabetes.
“This discovery also has implications for our understanding of other diseases of the retina and the brain. Although only at an early stage, these findings suggest a new way to understand vascular diseases of the brain with implications for our understanding of the brain.stroke he was born in Alzheimer’s disease“, said the scientist.
“It is important to point out that siamor were able to show that in an early stage of diabetes, before there were any visible changes in the back of the eye, blood vessels are abnormally narrow, affecting how they supply neurons in the retina. Retinal immune cells were implicated in this early vascular anomaly, engaging them as a novel therapeutic target to control early retinal changes in diabetes. “
Hopefully the results will help develop new therapies to reduce the effects of vascular conditions in the retina and brain. These conditions include diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular conditions such as stroke or retinal vascular occlusions.
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