New way to treat retinopathies suggested

November 1, 2008

The discovery of factors affecting retinal angiogenesis have implications for the treatment of vascularization disorders, according to results of a study published in the October issue of Nature Medicine.

The discovery of factors affecting retinal angiogenesis have implications for the treatment of vascularization disorders, according to results of a study published in the October issue of Nature Medicine.

Sylvain Chemtob of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada and colleagues investigated molecular causes of vision loss.

They found that a receptor found in neurons, G protein-coupled receptor-91 (GPR91), impacts the rate of vessel growth in hypoxic rodent retinas, regardless of whether they were examples of normal or ischaemic retinal development. The impact of GPR91 is tampered by retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which, under certain conditions, regulate angiogenesis. Study subjects deficient in RGC were unable to moderate angiogenesis, implying a connection between GPR91 and proliferation of vascular networks.

The team therefore posited that there may be ways other than modulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels to treat abnormal vascularization. Specifically, modifying the activity of GPR91 might offer a more targeted and effective treatment for retinopathy. The team hopes to progress to human trials in three to four years.