Blindness Preventing Protein Discovered

Researchers at Louisiana State University have discovered a retinal protein essential for vision and uncovered the molecular mechanisms of visual degeneration. This discovery allows for more rapid testing of treatments that can slow down or prevent blindness.

The research reveals a previously unknown function for the protein named adiponectin receptor 1 to regulate the amount of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) inside photoreceptor cells.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fish oil and an important component of the human brain, skin, and retina. Diminished levels of retinal DHA are associated with age-related macular degeneration and other degenerative diseases.

The research team, led by Dr. Nicolas Bazan, discovered that mice with the adiponectin receptor gene deleted had diminished levels of retinal DHA. Without DHA the photoreceptors of the mice degenerated.

AdipoR1 was also essential in the uptake of DHA into human retinal pigment epithelial cells.

Further information: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150304/ncomms7228/full/ncomms7228.html

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