Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Inhibiting MicroRNAs May Help Prevent Degenerative Eye Disorders

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Inhibiting MicroRNAs May Help Prevent Degenerative Eye Disorders

Article excerpt

Blocking two tiny molecules of ribonucleic acid (RNA)--a chemical cousin of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)--appears to suppress the abnormal growth of blood vessels that occurs in degenerative eye disorders.

Findings from a study reported at the University of Texas, Dallas, suggest a potential strategy to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a vascular eye disorder that affects nearly two million Americans. AMD is a leading cause of blindness among older people.

Dr. Shusheng Wang, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Pharmacology and co-senior author of the study, said: "MicroRNAs can affect multiple pathways involved in age-related macular degeneration. Therapeutic manipulation of microRNAs 23 and 27 may give us a way to treat choroidal neovascularization in patients with degenerative retinal diseases."

In the study, researchers found that silencing the microRNA cluster members miR-23 and miR-27 hindered excessive formation of blood vessels in the back of the eye. When these blood vessels hemorrhage and leak, a sudden deterioration of central vision is created.

MicroRNAs are tiny pieces of genetic material that can target multiple components of signaling pathways. By interacting with other protein-making molecules in cells, they help to fine-tune the expression of networks of genes and control cell function. …

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