A small molecule "photoswitch," AAQ, restores light sensitivity in mouse models of degenerative eye diseases, according to a study published in the July 26 issue of Neuron.
MONDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- A small molecule "photoswitch," AAQ, restores light sensitivity in mouse models of degenerative eye diseases, according to a study published in the July 26 issue of Neuron.
Aleksandra Polosukhina, from the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues examined the effect of AAQ, a synthetic small molecule photoswitch that binds to potassium channels, on light sensitivity in mouse models of retinitis pigmentosa, the degenerative eye disease where rods and cones die but the visual system remains intact but unable to respond to light.
The researchers found that retinal ganglion cells from the mice responded to light after 30 minutes of treatment with AAQ, in a dose-dependent manner, without exogenous gene delivery. After intraocular injection of AAQ, the mice responded to light, as indicated by restoration of the pupillary light reflex and locomotory light-avoidance behavior.
"AAQ and related photoswitch molecules present a potential drug strategy for restoring retinal function in degenerative blinding diseases," Polosukhina and colleagues conclude.
Two authors disclosed financial ties to Photoswitch Bioscience Inc., which is developing commercial uses for chemical photoswitches.
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