Optic nerve-repair molecule?

March 3, 2023 Staff reporters

Researchers in China have identified a small molecule which restores visual function following optic nerve damage.


Led by Dr Eddie Chi Him Ma, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Laboratory Animal Research Unit at CityU, Hong Kong, researchers said intravitreal injection of the molecule, ‘M1’, increased the fusion and motility of mitochondria, resulting in sustained axon regeneration. “To facilitate the recovery of visual function after injury, the axons of the neurons must regenerate through the optic nerve and relay nerve impulses to visual targets in the brain via the optic nerve for image processing and formation,” explained A/Prof Ma.


Researchers reported the survival of retinal ganglion cells in M1-treated mice increased from 19% to 33% four weeks after optic nerve injury, restoring visual functions including pupil constriction response. The team is developing an animal model to test M1’s capacity to treat glaucoma-related vision loss and possibly diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and traumatic optic neuropathy.


The full study was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).


For more on therapies targeting mitochondria, see https://www.nzoptics.co.nz/articles/archive/gene-therapy-hope-for-dry-amd/