A new study by researchers at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has identified a new molecule that when inhibited may help prevent diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
Using a mouse model, investigators reportedly identified a protein called secretogranin III (Scg3) that efficiently binds to the surface of retinal blood vessel cells in diabetic, but not healthy, mice. They found Scg3 increased vascular leakage, and, when administered to mice, it stimulated blood vessel growth in diabetic, but not healthy, animals.
However, reportedly treating diabetic mice with Scg3-neutralizing antibodies dramatically reduced the leakiness of their retinal blood vessels. And the antibodies significantly inhibited the growth of new blood vessels in mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy, a well-established animal model of human ROP.
Although researchers still need to confirm the role of Scg3 in humans, they reportedly believe inhibiting this protein could be an effective treatment for both diabetic retinopathy and ROP, especially as it appears to have no role in normal vascular development.
The study was recently published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
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Source: Rockefeller University Press