Researchers show umbilical cord cells help connect eye neurons

News By Rachel Sereix | Thursday, January 14Special to The Chronicle Duke researchers have shown that cells separated from umbilical cords help the retinal neurons in rats’ eyes connect. The connections are shown in yellow in the picture above. Discoveries made by Duke researchers could pave the way for treatment of degenerative eye diseases. The findings showed that cells isolated from human umbilical cords can produce molecules that help the retinal neurons in rats’ eyes grow, connect and survive. Researchers, led by Cagla Eroglu, an assistant professor of cell biology and neurobiology at the Duke University Medical Center, identified one molecule in particular— thrombospondins—that are involved in the growth of connections between neurons and could allow for mechanisms to treat age-dependent macular degeneration and repair vision. “The more we understand how…


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