Clustering gene expression changes reveals pathways toward glaucoma prevention

Mar 07, 2011

Using a method that involved the clustering of samples that showed similarity in expression profiles, Jackson Laboratory researchers were able to identify molecular signatures of early events in glaucoma progression -- events that were detectable before there was morphological evidence of damage.

Glaucoma is the second-most common cause of blindness in the US, and occurs due to loss of retinal ganglion cells and degeneration of the . Although it is known that high levels of pressure within the eye predispose individuals to the development of glaucoma, the involved are poorly defined.

In new research from The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, Simon John and colleagues analyzed gene expression patterns in the and optic nerves of mice that develop age-related glaucoma. Using a method that involved the clustering of samples that showed similarity in expression profiles, the researchers were able to identify molecular signatures of early events in glaucoma progression- events that were detectable before there was morphological evidence of damage.

Activation of part of the called the complement cascade, and upregulation of endothelin 2- a protein that can increase blood pressure- were among these early changes. Notably, the researchers found that genetically and pharmacologically interfering with these changes protected mice from developing glaucoma.

The researchers believe that they have identified pathways that might be targeted in the development of new therapeutics, and hope that their method of clustered gene expression analysis will be useful in uncovering the early molecular events that underlie other diseases.

Explore further: Muscular dystrophy: Repair the muscles, not the genetic defect

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers identify gene variant linked to glaucoma

Sep 21, 2009

An international team, led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the National Eye Institute, has discovered gene variants for glaucoma in a black population. The finding could ...

Link identified between Alzheimer's disease and glaucoma

Aug 06, 2007

UK scientists have shown for the first time that key proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease are also implicated in glaucoma, the major cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Research carried out at the UCL Institute ...

Recommended for you

Cellular protein may be key to longevity

8 hours ago

Researchers have found that levels of a regulatory protein called ATF4, and the corresponding levels of the molecules whose expression it controls, are elevated in the livers of mice exposed to multiple interventions ...

Gut bacteria tire out T cells

11 hours ago

Leaky intestines may cripple bacteria-fighting immune cells in patients with a rare hereditary disease, according to a study by researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland. The study, published in The Journal of Experimental Me ...

T-bet tackles hepatitis

11 hours ago

A single protein may tip the balance between ridding the body of a dangerous virus and enduring life-long chronic infection, according to a report appearing in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

User comments : 0