Recent groundbreaking strides made in the medical stream of ophthalmology will give ophthalmic surgeons throughout the world good reasons to cheer. A team of researchers at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut have successfully reprogrammed supportive retinal cells to turn into stem cells that have the capacity of producing new or fresh neurons. If the claims or findings of the research team are extrapolated and similar trials carried out by other medical specialist teams and in case their verdicts are related then it could be inferred convincingly that the study was nothing short of a medical breakthrough in the branch of ophthalmology.
The techniques of cell reprogramming conducted by the ophthalmological researchers at the university medical school experimented on retinas of adult mice. Their findings suggest that the techniques or methods of retinal cells reprogramming would prove instrumental in the treatment and management of a host of eye disorders including ARMD (age-related macular degeneration), glaucoma, cataract, dry eye, and diabetic eye disease. Details of the scientific trial which was spearheaded by an associate professor of ophthalmology Bo Chen were published in Cell Reports-a medical journal. We’re able to visualize and distinguish what we see because of the retina located behind the eyeball.
The retina which is comprised of different kinds of ocular cells that include retinal neuron cells as well. The primary function of the neuron cells in the retina is to process the thousands of images that become incident on the eye lens thereby helping us to see as well as make out what is what. The retina also contains glial cells that play a supportive role i.e. these cells offer structural or organizational support. At the same time, these glial cells are crucial in maintaining the stability of the retinal neurons’ chemical setting. Of all the various types of glial cells found in mammals, Muller glial cells or MG cells are the most numerous.
Ophthalmology specialists are aware that the MG cells have a plant morphological structure that renders them amenable to morph into stem cells. Once they change into stem cells, the MG cells propagate prolifically and become neurons in the regeneration process. Nevertheless, the team of researchers has gone on record by iterating that this unique capability of the mammalian MG cells to redevelop (as stem cells) only gets activated during an injury. In other words, the restoration procedure stays latent or inactive under normal conditions.
Nevertheless, the situation is altogether different for poikilothermic organisms or animals whose internal body temperature varies in accordance with the surrounding environmental temperature. Marine creatures like seahorse or zebrafish have MG cells that are capable of acting as replacement stem cells whenever retinal neurons become damaged or dysfunctional. Medical scientists are earnestly trying to create a technique in which the process of replacement of retinal neurons by GM cells can be replicated in mammals. Earlier attempts to initiate the process by causing retinal injury via injection of neurotoxins have backfired or proved counterproductive.
Therefore, the thrust of the trial carried out at Yale University Medical School was to develop a technique that’s steer clear of causing controlled damage to the retina. The team based their research on the observation that a Wnt signaling conduit got triggered whenever an injury was inflicted on MG cells. The team introduced genes into the retinas of adult mice and observed that MG could be reprogrammed to stimulate Wnt signaling and thereby encourage MG regeneration without hurting the retina. This breakthrough it is expected will prove crucial in dealing with ARMD that is chief eye disorder in the USA leading to permanent loss of vision in aged people.
Author Bio: Tony Rollan provides consulting services to VSI (https://www.patternless.com/) and he is an author of many articles on all types of optical and ophthalmic equipment. Author talks about medicine, health, alternative healing, sport and healthy living.
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