Nanotubes in the eye that help us see

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Nanotubes in the eye that help us see
Nanotubes below the microscope. Credit: ‘Alarcon-Martinez, Villafranca-Baughman et al., CRCHUM / Nature

A brand new mechanism of blood redistribution that is important for the correct functioning of the grownup retina has simply been found in vivo by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM).

Their research was printed as we speak in Nature.

“For the first time, we have identified a communication structure between cells that is required to coordinate in the living retina,” stated Dr. Adriana Di Polo, a neuroscience professor at Université de Montréal and holder of a Canada Research Chair in glaucoma and age-related neurodegeneration, who supervised the research.

“We already knew that activated retinal areas obtain extra than non-activated ones,” she stated, “but until now no one understood how this essential blood delivery was finely regulated.”

The research was performed on mice by two members of Di Polo’s lab: Dr. Luis Alarcon-Martinez, a postdoctoral fellow, and Deborah Villafranca-Baughman, a Ph.D. scholar. Both are the first co-authors of this research.

In dwelling animals, as in people, the retina makes use of the oxygen and vitamins contained in the blood to completely operate. This important trade takes place by way of capillaries, the thinnest blood vessels in all organs of the physique. When the blood provide is dramatically lowered or lower off—resembling in ischemia or stroke—the retina doesn’t obtain the oxygen it wants. In this situation, the cells start to die and the stops working because it ought to.

Nanotubes below the microscope. Credit: ‘Alarcon-Martinez, Villafranca-Baughman et al., CRCHUM / Nature

Tunnelling between cells

Wrapped round the capillaries are pericytes, cells that have the capability to regulate the quantity of blood passing by way of a single capillary just by squeezing and releasing it.

“Using a microscopy technique to visualize vascular changes in living mice, we showed that pericytes project very thin tubes, called inter-pericyte tunnelling , to communicate with other pericytes located in distant capillaries,” stated Alarcon-Martinez. “Through these nanotubes, the pericytes can talk to each other to deliver blood where it is most needed.”

Another vital characteristic, added Villafranca-Baughman, is that “the capillaries lose their ability to shuttle blood where it is required when the tunnelling nanotubes are damaged—after an ischemic stroke, for example. The lack of blood supply that follows has a on neurons and the overall tissue function.”

The staff’s findings recommend that microvascular deficits noticed in like strokes, glaucoma, and Alzheimer’s illness would possibly end result from the lack of tunnelling nanotubes and impaired blood distribution. Strategies that shield these nanostructures ought to then be useful, however stay to be demonstrated.


Stroke: Researchers shed light on the brain recovery process and new treatment strategies


More info:
Interpericyte tunnelling nanotubes regulate neurovascular coupling, Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2589-x , www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2589-x

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Nanotubes in the eye that help us see (2020, August 12)
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