Study: Growth factor TGF-B helps maintain health of retinal blood vessels
NEW YORK Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have found that the growth factor known as TGF-? is essential to the health of blood vessels in the retina and that blocking it can cause retinal dysfunction.
These findings, published in the April 2 issue of PLoS ONE, may have an important impact on the prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
“These results are significant because they add to our understanding of the molecules that help to maintain blood vessels in a healthy state,” says Patricia D’Amore, PhD, senior scientist at Schepens and principal investigator of the study, who added that this information may be useful in understanding the changes that occur in the retinal microvasculature prior to the development of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
“Insight into the role of this growth factor may also help clinicians monitor the use of systemic drugs targeting TGF-?, which is elevated in a number of conditions (such as cancer and fibrotic diseases) to limit any vision problems that might occur as a side effects,” said Tony Walshe, PhD, the first author of the study and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the D’Amore’s laboratory team.
Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels in the body and the site at which oxygen and nutrients are transferred from the blood to the tissues. A capillary is composed of an endothelial cell, which forms the lining of the small tube, and a pericyte, which wraps around the outside of the tube. Scientists have long believed that communication between these two cell types is necessary to maintain blood vessel structure and function.
According to Walshe, the goal of the study was to determine if TGF-? plays a role in keeping blood vessels functioning normally. In previous experiments using tissue cultures, the D’Amore laboratory had identified TGF-? as a protein that results from the communication between the two cell types and which they use to maintain the health of the small blood vessels. In the current study, the team wanted to confirm that finding in animals.
Thrive Allergy Expo kicks off in Chicago
CHICAGO The Thrive Allergy Expo will be kicking off its inaugural consumer expo this weekend, April 18 and 19, at the McCormick Place, providing consumers education and samples around a number of allergy-related conditions.
Thrive will present speakers across two platforms — the Healthy Living Forum and Marketplace Forum.
At the Healthy Living Forum, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, American Lung Association, Children’s Memorial Hospital: Food Allergy Study, MedicAlert, University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and the Gluten Intolerance Group will speak on both days of the event. Discussion topics and presentations include asthma, eczema, food allergies, Celiac Disease and precautions and avoidance tips to increase allergy safety.
At the Marketplace Forum speakers include Twinject, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immnology, AllergyZone, Gluten Intolerance Group, Lisa Cooks Allergen Free, Merchant du Vin, and authors Jules Shepard and Kim Koeller. Anaphylaxis, indoor air quality, evolution of gluten-free beer, how to keep a gluten-free kitchen and how to safely eat out with food allergies and Celiac Disease are some of the topics that will be addressed at this Forum.
Stem cells may curb insulin use for Type 1 diabetes patients, study finds
NEW YORK An experimental stem-cell treatment for juvenile-onset diabetes kept patients off insulin for at least a year, according to published reports.
According to WebMD, of patients recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes who received the treatment, more than half were able to go without insulin for at least a year, and four patients managed to go without it for at least three years. The treatment also uses drugs to suppress the immune system, however, and two of the patients contracted pneumonia.
The original study appears in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.