Miller School researchers identify gene responsible for regulating optic nerve regeneration
Posted Oct 13 2009 10:01pm
October 9, 2009
Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have identified a family of genes that may control the ability of the optic nerve to regenerate. The discovery of this gene family, as published in the October 9 issue of Science, is a big step forward for both visual science and neuroscience. The finding may one day lead to treatment advances for diseases such as glaucoma and optic nerve stroke (also called anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, or AION), as well as spinal cord injury and other neurodegenerative diseases of the brain and spinal cord.
The axons of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) form the optic nerve that transmits electrical impulses from the retina to the brain, allowing a person to see. RGCs that are damaged or injured result in diminished or lost vision. Once thought incapable of regenerating, RGCs showed improved regeneration in the optic nerve after manipulating one of these recently identified genes.
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