Like all organs, our eyes rely on a complex network of blood vessels in order to function properly. Vessels supply blood to the retina, a thin layer of cells in the eye (shown here as pink, blue and red layers) that convert the light we see into electrical signals. If these tiny vessels develop badly, they can block the retina’s cells and cause vision loss. Scientists are studying a type of protein whose job is to keep a close eye on these vessels, and prevent them from growing awry. The team found that abnormal blood vessels were more likely to develop in mice that don’t have this protein in their retinal cells. Regions in their retina where this protein was missing are shown in bright green. This research helps us understand how specific proteins in the eye are there as a safeguard against vascular disease and ultimately, blindness.
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