Epigenetic reprogramming restores vision in old mice

wallpapers Industry 2020-07-19

mice with retinal nerve damage can restore vision through cell reprogramming. Photo source: qilai Shen / blogger / Getty

December 3 the latest research published in nature by Harvard University Yale University other institutions in the United States proposed a new method to reverse the visual aging of animals that is by epigenetic reprogramming some cells are in a "young" state so that they can better repair or replace damaged tissues.

"this is an important milestone these results clearly show that tissue regeneration in mammals can be enhanced." Said Juan Carlos izpisua Belmonte a developmental biologist at the Salk Institute of biology who was not involved in the study.

but the researchers said that at present the research has only been carried out in mice whether the method can be applied to humans or other tissues organs damaged by time changes remains to be seen. Aging of

affects human body in a variety of ways including adding removing or changing chemical groups such as methyl groups on DNA. These "epigenetic" changes will accumulate with age. Some researchers suggest that tracking these changes can be used as a way to calibrate molecular clocks to measure physiological age.

"if epigenetic change is the driver of aging can we reset epigenes? Can we turn the clock back? " David Sinclair co-author of the study a geneticist at Harvard Medical School said.

in 2016 Belmonte team reported the effect of four genes expressed in genetically modified mice on mouse aging. The results showed that the aging mice had younger epigenetic marker pattern. However this technique also has disadvantages. If there are redundant copies of the reset gene or the expression time is too long some mice will develop tumors. Yuancheng Lu a member of the Sinclair Laboratory of

a geneticist at Harvard Medical School has found a safer way to restore cell vitality. He removed one of the cancer related genes used by Belmonte's team inserted the remaining three into a virus that could bring them into cells. He also added a "switch" to activate the gene by injecting the mice with drugs.

researchers took out the retinal nerve of mice eyes injected the virus into the eyes of mice to observe whether the expression of the three genes can regenerate the injured nerves in mice. The results of

experiments showed that the system improved the vision of mice with age-related visual loss or elevated intraocular pressure reset the epigenetic model of mice human cells used in the experiment to a younger state. Sinclair says it's not clear how cells maintain a younger epigenetic state they're trying to find out.

at the same time Harvard has licensed the technology to life Biosciences in Boston which Sinclair said is conducting a preclinical safety assessment to develop the technology for human use. Botond Roska director of the Institute of molecular clinical ophthalmology in Basel Switzerl said it would be a new way to treat vision loss but it may need a lot of improvement before it can be safely applied in humans. For information about

please refer to: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2975-4  

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