Inhibition Of This Newly Discovered Molecule Could Prevent Vision Loss In Diabetics, Premature Infants

First Posted: Mar 25, 2017 05:02 AM EDT

A new study suggests a discovery of a molecule that generates the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the eyes of diabetic mice. Stopping this molecule could prevent the abnormal blood vessels from disparaging the vision of the diabetics and premature infants.

The findings of the study were printed in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. The study was led by researchers from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which is part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, according to Medical News Today.

The scientists used a technique known as "comparative ligandomics" to determine the additional molecules that control the behavior of blood vessels in diabetic mice. Wei Li, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, said that their ligandomics approach could be used to any kind of cell or disease to determine signaling molecules with pathogenic roles and therapeutic potential.

The team found that a protein known as secretogranin III (Scg3) attaches to the surface of retinal blood vessels in diabetic mice. Scg3 stimulates the secretion of hormones and other signaling factors. On the other hand, it also has a signaling function. They discovered that Scg3 heightened the vascular leakage and stimulated the blood vessel growth in diabetic mice.

The scientists then treated the diabetic mice with Scg3-neutralizing antibodies. This lessened the leakage of the retinal blood vessels of the diabetic mice. The treatment also prevented the development of new blood vessels in mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy.

The inhibition of this molecule or protein leads to an effective treatment for diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Li explained that Scg3 inhibitors may deliver advantages like high efficacy, disease selectivity and minimal side effect. This is because the Scg3 inhibitors could target a diverse signaling pathway, anti-Scg3 therapies that could be applied in combination with or as an alternative to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, as noted by Science Daily. 

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