by: Selina McKee
Research led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has pinpointed a potential new therapeutic target for treating retinal degeneration.
The work discovered that a protein (SARM1) involved in neuronal cell injury could also play a role in the progression of retinal degeneration.
Millions of people worldwide suffer varying degrees of vision-loss due to irreversible retinal degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of sight loss in the elderly.
“Lots of different factors can initiate retinal degeneration and lead to severe visual impairment and eventual blindness, but ultimately the end-point is photoreceptor cell death. Although it seems unlikely the process of cell-death is – in fact – a programmed or organised event that directs proteins in our cells to take on ‘executioner’ roles,” noted Ema Ozaki, research fellow in clinical medicine at Trinity.
In this research, the team led by Dr Sarah Doyle, assistant professor in immunology at Trinity, investigated the role of one such ‘executioner protein’ called SARM1.
Research has already shown that SARM1 is highly efficient at triggering the degeneration of neuronal cells, but this research is the first to describe a role for SARM1 in photoreceptor cell biology.
“Our research indicates that SARM1 is likely to be a key executioner in the process of retinal degeneration, because if we remove it from our experimental model system this has the effect of delaying the photoreceptor cells from dying,” said Dr Doyle……
Source: Pharma Times