Gone fishing for better sight

Researchers have accelerated the regeneration of retinal tissue in zebrafish by controlling their immune systems

15 Aug 2017 by Selina Powell, Laurence Derbyshire

ZebrafishScientists are delving beneath the ocean’s surface to find clues to combat degenerative eye disease.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers are studying the vision of zebrafish, which can naturally regenerate their retinal tissue.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists were able to accelerate this innate ability by controlling the immune system of the fish.

During the research, scientists created a model of retinitis pigmentosa in zebrafish through gene editing.

The researchers write that gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms governing retinal repair in zebrafish may aid future therapeutic developments.

“We show that immunosuppression can either inhibit or accelerate photoreceptor regeneration kinetics depending on the timing of treatment,” the authors highlighted.

“We conclude that modulation of immune cell responses to retinal neuron cell death stands as a promising strategy for promoting repair of the human eye,” they emphasised. 


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