Scientists at USAL study how the optic nerve is regenerated in fish and its possible application to the human visual system

The future challenge of USAL researchers is to develop therapeutic treatments for the recovery of eyesight lost through pathologies such as  glaucoma or cancer of the hypophysis.

The 12th of March was World Glaucoma Day, to attract attention to the pathology that comprises a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and the number one cause of blindness in the world. Over 60 million people suffer from glaucoma, and its symptomology, which progresses slowly and asymptomatically, means that 50% of those that have it do not become aware of it until the deterioration of their visual field becomes so evident that they realize that they have been “robbed of their sight”.

Accordingly, the USAL scientist, Juan Manuel Lara Pradas, Chair in Cell Biology and Pathology at the Institute of Neurosciences of Castile & Leon (INCYL), is developing an interesting line of research focused on the plasticity, degeneration and regeneration of the human visual system through study of the processes of the development of this system in zebrafish, which is “capable of regenerating its optic nerve in cases of deterioration”.

The objective is to determine how and why these fish manage to do this and “to what extent it could be applied to humans”, as the researcher reported to Comunicación Universidad de Salamanca.

Lara Pradas explains that unlike fish, “we human beings have lost the regenerative capability”, and that when lesions appear on the optic nerve in an individual’s visual system, “whether caused by glaucoma or cancer of the hypophysis, for example, which put pressure on that nerve”, frequently that person can “go blind”.

More information:Comunicación Universidad de Salamanca

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