Newfound Inflammation Resolution in the Eye May Pave the Road to Treatments to Stop Blindness from Glaucoma and Also Possibly Treatments for Brain Tauopathies

Dong Feng Chen, MD, PhD, makes a point to one of her research team members.

How glaucoma causes blindness has long been a mystery and now, a ground-breaking discovery from Mass Eye and Ear scientist Dong Feng Chen, MD, PhD, may shed new light on this mechanism and lead to a promising treatment strategy. Dr. Chen’s work has uncovered a link between neuroinflammation, immune cells in the eye, and the damage that causes blindness. Neuroinflammation is the immune response mounted in areas of the body with delicate brain cells including the brain, spinal cord, and light-sensing cells and neurons in the eye’s retina. Her research team uncovered a switch that could turn off this inflammation, stopping damage to these neurons and reversing the mechanism that leads to blindness in glaucoma. Interestingly, this mechanism may be involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other neuroinflammatory disorders. The team published its research on August 29, 2023 in Cell Reports. The open-access article is titled “IGFBPL1 Is a Master Driver of Microglia Homeostasis and Resolution of Neuroinflammation in Glaucoma and Brain Tauopathy.”

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