Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Scientists Do a Gut-Check to Find a Cure for Blindness

"One major cause of human blindness is autoimmune uveitis, which is triggered by the activation of T cells, but exactly how and where the T cells become activated in the first place has been a long-standing mystery," according to Medical News Today. "A study published August 18 in the journal Immunity reveals that gut microbes produce a molecule that mimics a retinal protein, which most likely activates the T cells responsible for the disease. By shedding light on the cause of autoimmune uveitis in mice, the study could contribute to a better understanding of a broad range of autoimmune disorders and pave the way for novel prevention strategies in the future." Read more.

The study was conducted by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIH writes, "Evidence increasingly suggests that there is an association between the microbiota in the gut – bacteria, fungi and viruses – and the development of autoimmune disorders. Findings from this study suggest how that association may be made and therefore have implications about the origins of autoimmune diseases not only in the eye, but also elsewhere in the body, said Rachel R. Caspi, Ph.D., a senior investigator at NEI whose lab led the study." Read more of the NIH description.

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