CNIC scientists identify inflammatory regulatory circuit controlled by endothelial cells in the eye

CNIC scientists identify inflammatory regulatory circuit controlled by endothelial cells in the eye

Researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), working with an international network of scientists, have identified an inflammatory regulatory circuit in the eye controlled by a subtype of endothelial cells, the cells that line the interior of blood vessels. The discovery was made by analyzing gene expression in 8000 cells of the choroid--the vascular layer at the rear of the eye between the retina and the sclera. The results, published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine , open new perspectives on the study and treatment of retinal vascular diseases and inflammatory disorders that affect the choroid. In the retina, photoreceptors capture the light energy entering the eye and convert it into electrical pulses that give rise to visual perception, explained Ignacio Benedicto, CNIC researcher and study coordinator. "The activitiy and survival of photoreceptors depends on the choroid. The blood vessels that irrigate the choroid are essential for correct retina function because they provide oxygen and nutrients to the photoreceptors and remove waste products." Enrique Rodríguez-Boulan, investigator at Weill Cornell Medicine and study codirector, said: Failure of choroid function is associated with the development of ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (called AMD), which causes blindness and affects 8.7% of the world population and 25% of people older than 80 years". In Spain alone, there are an estimated 700,000 people with AMD, and this blindness-linked disease is set to become increasingly common in the future due to progressive population aging. Unfortunately, the most frequent form of AMD is incurable, and little is known about what causes the disease. This is in part due to the limited state of knowledge about the cell components of the choroid and the mechanisms of molecular communication between them. Related Stories



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