Retinal degenerative disease is a problem for millions of people around the world because it calls light-sensitive cells photoreceptors located at the back of the eye, they die without being replaced. Research published in PNAS seems to have found a solution.
While spiders can help keep us from losing our sight, a team of researchers in Canada has figured out a way to transform some cells that serve as support however resulting in dormant calls Muller glial cells, in real tissues with the function of cone photoreceptors, necessary for color perception and visual acuity. Although the current tests are only on mouse cells, in a short time we could come to a therapy capable of restoring sight in people.
“The interesting thing is that these Müller cells they are known to reactivate and regenerate the retina in fish“says neuroscientist and first author of the study Camille Boudreau-Pinsonneault of the University of Montreal.
It is precisely because of this ability to be “reprogrammed” in some animals that Müller’s glial cells were chosen. Unfortunately though, it would appear that this incredible process cannot happen spontaneously in humans.
That’s why the real key to the study was the genes Ikzf1 And Ikzf4 and the proteins they produced. These proteins are known as temporal identity factorsalready known in the literature to play important roles in cell development in various types.
Müller glial cells were then isolated and cultured before being reprogrammed using a variety of temporal identity factors, including Ikzf1 and Ikzf4. Although these factors did not completely transform glial cells into cone cells, they have nevertheless assumed some of the necessary characteristics to function like photoreceptors. But what could this discovery lead to?
Without having to resort to mushrooms that cure color blindness, while glial cells help feed, regulate and organize other cells in the eye, the researchers say they are present in abundance in human beingsso they can be safely converted into photoreceptor-like cells, which are essential for seeing light and identifying colors.