In the first few moments after birth, newborns’ eyes are greeted by the sheer brightness of the world. The next year brings more vibrant colours and crisper images. At least that's what should happen. Individuals with the rare disease osteoporosis pseudoglioma (OPPG) are born blind or become so in infancy. The disease is caused by a defect in the gene LRP5, which is involved in supplying the eyes with blood. Researchers took a closer look at what LRP5 does by examining the eyes of mice lacking this gene. Peeling open the eyes to expose a flat layer of blood vessels revealed that fewer vessels sprouted during development (green), as imaged here under a microscope. In adulthood vessels grew haphazardly, becoming leaky and deformed. Adding LRP5 back to the vessels prevented these defects. Insight into what LRP5 does not only improves our understanding of OPPG but also of normal eye development.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.