Eye Shoot the Messenger

Degenerative Eye Disorders may benefit from manipulating 2 RNA messengers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) By blocking two messenger RNA's, abnormal blood vessel growth occurring in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other degenerative eye disorders may be suppressed. 

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that silencing 2 micro RNAs can hinder the creation of new blood vessels in the choroid layer of the eye which is a common symptom in age-related macular degeneration.

"A new treatment for age-related macular degeneration discovered."

Dr. Shusheng Wang, assistant professor of ophthalmology and pharmacology and co-senior author of the study reports that MicroRNAs can affect multiple pathways involved in age-related macular degeneration.

Dr. Wang says that therapeutic manipulation of 2 microRNAs, miR-23 and miR-27, may offer a way to stop the progression of diseases in patients with degenerative retinal diseases. Wang additionally says the research team is investigating whether angiogenic drugs in addition to the microRNA manipulation may make the therapy even better.

MicroRNAs are tiny pieces of genetic material that target multiple components of signaling pathways. While interacting with other protein-making molecules in cells, these microRNAs also help perfect the expression genes and control cell function.

But microRNAs also can contribute to the excessive blood vessel formation which is a hallmark of age-related macular degeneration. Angiogenesis, which is the process of producing new blood vessels is important for the body's healing process, but it also helps promote AMD.

The findings are available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Review Date: 
June 6, 2011
Last Updated:
June 23, 2011