Sunday, April 21 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
German researchers have discovered that genes controlling blood vessel growth in the retina of mice are “switched on” by the protein serum response factor (SRF).
This is a major finding, as many severe eye diseases are caused by the retina containing either too few or too many blood vessels. The results of the study therefore provide a starting point for the development of treatments for defective retinae and vitreous bodies.
The researchers at the University of Tübingen discovered that by eliminating this protein, they could artificially induce a certain disease profile in newborn and adult mice. Among the most interesting aspects of this research are the fact that this procedure produced different results depending on the age of the mouse and the resemblance to human diseases.
When the SRF was switched off in embryos or newborns, the blood vessels in the retinae were not fully developed. Their eye problems resembled vitreoretinopathy or Norrie disease. In adult mice, however, the procedure produced too many blood vessels in the retina, leading to a condition similar to that found in people with AMD.