Breaking News
August 21, 2018 - National Foundation for Cancer Research receives Safeway Foundation grant
August 21, 2018 - Protein aggregation in neurons linked to gene regulation in Huntington’s disease
August 21, 2018 - Aravive Biologics gains Fast Track Designation for AVB-S6-500 from U.S. FDA
August 21, 2018 - FDA Approves Opdivo (nivolumab) for Certain Patients with Previously Treated Small Cell Lung Cancer
August 21, 2018 - Success of blood test for autism affirmed
August 21, 2018 - Diabetic patients with disrupted sleep may need more time to heal their wounds
August 21, 2018 - AADE honors six educators for achievements in diabetes education
August 21, 2018 - Scientists find two molecules that may combat cancer and chronic infections
August 21, 2018 - Two Strategies for Preventing Diabetes in Minority Patients
August 21, 2018 - Living as a Gallbladder Cancer Survivor
August 21, 2018 - Can we predict the long-term outcome of boys with ADHD?
August 21, 2018 - GBCA creates model for developing scientist-advocate collaborations in cancer research
August 21, 2018 - Healthy diet could help promote healthy cellular aging in women
August 21, 2018 - Researchers develop gene expression predictor for immunotherapy response in melanoma
August 21, 2018 - MDI Biological Laboratory introduces Morris Scientific Discovery Fund for eligible research programs
August 21, 2018 - Micro-flow model reveals complex interactions between the brain’s blood vessels and nerve cells
August 21, 2018 - Study investigates impact of osteoporosis on risk of developing dementia
August 21, 2018 - Federal method fails to detect most stores that sell cigarettes to minors
August 21, 2018 - Workers in open office seating have less stress than those in private offices and cubicles
August 21, 2018 - 1 in 4 in U.S. Has a Disability, CDC Reports
August 21, 2018 - Studies provide new insights into the role of sleep in chronic pain
August 21, 2018 - Study shows that rogue proteins may underlie some ALS and frontotemporal dementia cases
August 21, 2018 - Elevated LDL cholesterol levels linked to higher risk of CVD death in young, healthy people
August 21, 2018 - Measles cases on the rise in Europe
August 21, 2018 - CURE Media Group welcomes CancerCare to Strategic Alliance Partnership Program
August 21, 2018 - Blood management program associated with fewer transfusions in orthopedic patients
August 21, 2018 - Researchers create the world’s first artificial retina
August 21, 2018 - Yale researchers identify racial disparities in prescribing opioids for chronic pain
August 21, 2018 - BOOST-3 clinical trial aims to improve outcomes for severe TBI patients
August 21, 2018 - New study highlights Alzheimer’s herpes link, experts say
August 21, 2018 - Airline crew don’t have significantly elevated risk of thyroid cancer, new study finds
August 21, 2018 - States leverage federal funds to help insurers lower premiums
August 21, 2018 - New badge course explores research around skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ
August 21, 2018 - TG Therapeutics Announces Completion of Target Enrollment in the ULTIMATE Phase 3 Trials in Multiple Sclerosis
August 21, 2018 - Increased levels of human herpesvirus ID’d in Alzheimer’s
August 21, 2018 - To help patients quash pain, researcher develops practical guide for health care providers
August 20, 2018 - Medicine on the front line to be presented at Medical Innovation 2018
August 20, 2018 - Harbour Biomed and Kelun-Biotech collaborate to develop, commercialize anti-PD-L1 antibody
August 20, 2018 - The man who sold America on vitamin D — and profited in the process
August 20, 2018 - Finding the light in antimicrobials
August 20, 2018 - Unique pain program helps surgical patients wean off opioids safely and effectively
August 20, 2018 - Strawberries could mitigate colonic inflammation
August 20, 2018 - FDA Accepts New Drug Application (NDA) to Review Midazolam Nasal Spray, an Investigational Product for the Acute Treatment of Seizure Clusters
August 20, 2018 - Using Facebook to help young adults quit smoking
August 20, 2018 - ‘Liquid biopsy’ predicts lymphoma therapy success within days | News Center
August 20, 2018 - 5 Questions with Jordan Orange, Chair of Pediatrics
August 20, 2018 - New assay may help improve both sarcoma diagnosis and treatment
August 20, 2018 - New information on the brain regions related to metacognition, tactile sense
August 20, 2018 - New class of insect repellents to fight against mosquito-borne diseases
August 20, 2018 - ACA Coverage Gains Include Workers Without Insurance
August 20, 2018 - 3-D printed biomaterials for bone tissue engineering
August 20, 2018 - Current surveillance system does not quickly pick up most listeriosis cases in the EU, study reveals
August 20, 2018 - Prenatal exposure to acute stress can affect cognitive function in children of low-income households
August 20, 2018 - New study examines scope of state policies targeting drug use by pregnant women
August 20, 2018 - Researchers find long-term structural, functional brain abnormalities in individuals with AUDs
August 20, 2018 - Shortage of insurance fraud cops sparks campaign debate
August 20, 2018 - Researchers find STAT3 as therapeutic target for chronic active EBV infection
August 20, 2018 - Health Tip: Keep Diabetic Feet Healthier
August 20, 2018 - FDA approves brain stimulation device for OCD
August 20, 2018 - NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center expands Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
August 20, 2018 - New drug shows potential to prevent painful side effect of therapy
August 20, 2018 - RDMD raises $3 million in seed funding to accelerate rare disease research, drug development
August 20, 2018 - Illicit drug use is higher during celebratory events, may be worse than previously thought
August 20, 2018 - Exploring the relationship between fever and cancer incidence
August 20, 2018 - Study reveals how socioeconomic status affects racial, ethnic disparities in childhood cancer survival
August 20, 2018 - Brain tumors trap immune cells needed to fight cancer in the bone marrow, finds research
August 20, 2018 - Three factors that contribute to physician burnout
August 20, 2018 - Babies dependent on opioids need touch, not tech
August 20, 2018 - Understanding How Antibodies Shape the Gut Microbiome
August 20, 2018 - Cara Therapeutics Doses First Patient in Second Pivotal Phase 3 Efficacy Trial of Korsuva (CR845/difelikefalin) Injection in Hemodialysis Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease-Associated Pruritus
August 20, 2018 - Kidney transplant chains more effective in saving lives
August 20, 2018 - Study unravels cellular and molecular mechanisms behind dermal condensate formation
August 20, 2018 - New integrated gene logic-chips could have great value in medical care
August 20, 2018 - FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Approval of Paratek’s Omadacycline
August 20, 2018 - Total, open repairs decline for abdominal aortic aneurysms
August 20, 2018 - Novel system can pinpoint ingestible implants inside the body using wireless signals
August 20, 2018 - Infection rates of high risk oral HPV in England found to be lower than expected
August 20, 2018 - Making robots as valuable and trustworthy assistants for medical therapies
August 20, 2018 - Patients with low-risk blood clots can be better treated at home than at hospital
August 20, 2018 - Passive smoking exposure among kids greatly increases COPD risk late in life
Glaucoma could be an autoimmune disorder, study suggests

Glaucoma could be an autoimmune disorder, study suggests

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Glaucoma, a disease that afflicts nearly 70 million people worldwide, is something of a mystery despite its prevalence. Little is known about the origins of the disease, which damages the retina and optic nerve and can lead to blindness.

A new study from MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear has found that glaucoma may in fact be an autoimmune disorder. In a study of mice, the researchers showed that the body’s own T cells are responsible for the progressive retinal degeneration seen in glaucoma. Furthermore, these T cells appear to be primed to attack retinal neurons as the result of previous interactions with bacteria that normally live in our body.

The discovery suggests that it could be possible to develop new treatments for glaucoma by blocking this autoimmune activity, the researchers say.

“This opens a new approach to prevent and treat glaucoma,” says Jianzhu Chen, an MIT professor of biology, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and one of the senior authors of the study, which appears in Nature Communications on Aug. 10.

Dong Feng Chen, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, is also a senior author of the study. The paper’s lead authors are Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers Huihui Chen, Kin-Sang Cho, and T.H. Khanh Vu.

Genesis of glaucoma

One of the biggest risk factors for glaucoma is elevated pressure in the eye, which often occurs as people age and the ducts that allow fluid to drain from the eye become blocked. The disease often goes undetected at first; patients may not realize they have the disease until half of their retinal ganglion cells have been lost.

Most treatments focus on lowering pressure in the eye (also known as intraocular pressure). However, in many patients, the disease worsens even after intraocular pressure returns to normal. In studies in mice, Dong Feng Chen found the same effect.

“That led us to the thought that this pressure change must be triggering something progressive, and the first thing that came to mind is that it has to be an immune response,” she says.

To test that hypothesis, the researchers looked for immune cells in the retinas of these mice and found that indeed, T cells were there. This is unusual because T cells are normally blocked from entering the retina, by a tight layer of cells called the blood-retina barrier, to suppress inflammation of the eye. The researchers found that when intraocular pressure goes up, T cells are somehow able to get through this barrier and into the retina.

The Mass Eye and Ear team then enlisted Jianzhu Chen, an immunologist, to further investigate what role these T cells might be playing in glaucoma. The researchers generated high intraocular pressure in mice that lack T cells and found that while this pressure induced only a small amount of damage to the retina, the disease did not progress any further after eye pressure returned to normal.

Further studies revealed that the glaucoma-linked T cells target proteins called heat shock proteins, which help cells respond to stress or injury. Normally, T cells should not target proteins produced by the host, but the researchers suspected that these T cells had been previously exposed to bacterial heat shock proteins. Because heat shock proteins from different species are very similar, the resulting T cells can cross-react with mouse and human heat shock proteins.

To test this hypothesis, the team brought in James Fox, a professor in MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering and Division of Comparative Medicine, whose team maintains mice with no bacteria. The researchers found that when they tried to induce glaucoma in these germ-free mice, the mice did not develop the disease.

Human connection

The researchers then turned to human patients with glaucoma and found that these patients had five times the normal level of T cells specific to heat shock proteins, suggesting that the same phenomenon may also contribute to the disease in humans. The researchers’ studies thus far suggest that the effect is not specific to a particular strain of bacteria; rather, exposure to a combination of bacteria can generate T cells that target heat shock proteins.

One question the researchers plan to study further is whether other components of the immune system may be involved in the autoimmune process that gives rise to glaucoma. They are also investigating the possibility that this phenomenon may underlie other neurodegenerative disorders, and looking for ways to treat such disorders by blocking the autoimmune response.

“What we learn from the eye can be applied to the brain diseases, and may eventually help develop new methods of treatment and diagnosis,” Dong Feng Chen says.

Source:

http://news.mit.edu/2018/glaucoma-autoimmune-disease-0810

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles