Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
Research

Microglia play a protective role during retinal detachment

07/09/2018
Share
Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE) have found that microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain and retina, protect photoreceptors from cell death in acute retinal detachment.

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), showed for the first time what the researchers described as the beneficial role microglial cells play in the eye after retinal detachment by migrating to the injury site to protect photoreceptors and regulate local inflammation.

“We found that microglial cells rapidly migrate into the injured retina, where they formed close connections with infiltrating immune cells and removed injured photoreceptors,” study senior author Assistant Professor Kip Connor said.


"We found that microglial cells rapidly migrate into the injured retina, where they formed close connections with infiltrating immune cells and removed injured photoreceptors."
Kip Connor, MEE

“These findings provide the first insight into how microglia respond and function during retinal detachment.”

Previous studies had shown evidence of microglial cells being activated in retinal detachment, however, it was not known if the cells were harmful or protective for photoreceptor cells.

However, the researchers were able to describe morphological changes in microglia in response to retinal detachment in a preclinical model that suggested it could lead to new therapeutic avenues for preserving photoreceptors after retinal detachment.

The researchers observed that microglia rapidly responded to retinal detachment in a uniform migrating pattern towards the affected area. When they depleted microglia in the model, they found more of the photoreceptor cells die away.

“Clinically, in the context of retinal detachment, we think promoting these cells would be of significant therapeutic benefit—perhaps early on, when they can keep inflammation in check,” study lead author and Postdoctoral Fellow at MEE Dr Yoko Okuniki said.

“This could prevent the initial photoreceptor cell loss, preserving vision longer after retinal detachment and providing an extended therapeutic window for surgery.”

While modern surgical techniques are typically highly effective in physically reattaching the retina and surgical outcomes are generally positive, patients in some cases experience permanent vision loss accompanied by changes in colour vision.

leaderboard-Nova tears
advertisement





rectangle
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!