Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Vision Reform

The role of protein ELOV2 in age-related sight deterioration

12 February 2020

Vision Reform

Many people find that enjoying the sight of the sparkling night sky, or glittering images like this mouse retina, gets harder as they age. Vision can deteriorate as the years catch up with us, and researchers trying to understand why have been examining a particular molecule, ELOVL2 (yellow), known to reflect how far along the ageing process our bodies are. Looking at the eyes of ageing mice, they discovered that ELOVL2 not just indicates an ageing system, but plays a role in the decline. ELOVL2 helps produce fatty acids in the brain and retina that promote healthy function and protect from damage, which may explain why as ELOVL2 concentrations decreased with age, eye function declined. However, when the researchers boosted ELOVL2 levels back up, the decline was reversed, raising hopes that this might present a new potential target for treatments, helping older people enjoy the view once more.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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