Sight-Saving Inhibitions

Eliminating or inhibiting enzyme may help treat or prevent ischemic retinopathy

(RxWiki News) Removing or inhibiting the enzyme 12-lipoxygenase might prevent or help treat ischemic retinopathy by delaying the growth of blood vessels in the retina.

Researchers at Medical College of Georgia studied an inflammatory pathway where 12-lipoxygenase converts arachidonic acid into a product known as 12-HETE (12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid), which is linked to retinal neovascularization (the growth of new blood vessels).

Ischemic retinopathy is caused by neovascularization. The condition is seen in diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. While this type of blood vessel growth sometimes benefits ischemic heart disease and promotes healing in wounds, it is detrimental to the retina, where new vessels bleed and may cause retinal detachment.

In the study, researchers concluded that inhibiting 12-lipoxygenase and the production of 12-HETE may lead to the prevention and better treatment of ischemic retinopathy diseases, said lead study author Dr. Mohamed Al-Shabrawey, Assistant Professor of Oral Biology, Anatomy and Ophthalmology.

Whereas this study focused on end-stage retinal disease (ESRD), researchers now plan to tackle how inhibiting the enzyme 12-lipoxygenase might affect earlier stages of vascular dysfunction.

Review Date: 
January 17, 2011