Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Eyes Peeled
19 May 2016

Eyes Peeled

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.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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