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Intestinal bacteria… which would harm the eyes

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar1,2024

Intestinal bacteria... which would harm the eyes

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We already knew that mutations in the CRB1 gene weakened the protective barrier of the eyes.

The Canadian Press

Bacteria having migrated from the intestines to the eyes could be responsible, at least in part, for certain degenerative diseases of the retina that were until now thought to be entirely genetic in origin, demonstrate work carried out by British and Chinese researchers published in Cell magazine(New window) (in English).

This raises hope that these diseases could one day be treated with antibiotics, although this possibility still remains distant.

It gives us a bit of another vision where we have to integrate other organs, such as the digestive system, into the equation of this degeneration, estimated Przemyslaw Sapieha, who heads the disease research unit. ocular neurovascular systems at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Center. I think the link is plausible.

We already knew that mutations in the CRB1 gene weaken the protective barrier of the eyes. Researchers at University College London have now found that mutations in this same gene make the intestinal barrier a little more permeable, potentially allowing bacteria to escape.

The authors of the study therefore genetically modified mice to present an abnormal CRB1 gene. Mice that additionally had reduced levels of gut bacteria did not show retinal damage, compared to mice with normal microbiome. The administration of antibiotics has helped reduce damage to the eyes of the latter.

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Inherited retinal disorders are estimated to affect approximately 5.5 million people worldwide. If the new work represents new hope for them, we are still far from a new treatment, warns Professor Sapieha, who teaches at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montreal and who has held the Chair since 2010 of Canada's research institute in retinal cell biology.

It is certainly important that patients and families of patients who are affected do not become too enthusiastic quickly, he said.

Gut bacteria possibly contribute to retinal degeneration, he added, but it remains still a lot of work to be done, in particular to verify whether bacteria play a central role. lead, but as with any new work, especially work that has been done in mouse models, there are still several validation steps before we can even think about transferring to humans, he said. he concluded.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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