Banishing These Fluorescent Cells Could Save Your Sight

Banishing These Florescent Cells Could Save Your Sight

Do not shield your eyes. These bright biological blobs may look like something from a garish '80s party, but they could help crack the age-related macular degeneration that causes eyesight to deteriorate over time.

This image shows the blood vessels — in blue — of the retina of a mouse. The neon blobs are the nuclei of the cells that line their walls and the yellow ones are in the process of dividing, as cells are wont to do. But excess cell division here causes more blood vessels to form — which is what actually causes age-related macular degeneration. When researchers genetically modified mice to block a protein called Slit2, they found the cell division in the retina was much slower — stopping the onset of blindness. Now the team is working to establish if a drug could be developed to block the same protein for use in humans. [Nature Medicine via New Scientist]

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