Animal study highlights role of mast cells in chronic eye diseases

A new animal study carried out by researchers in France has helped demonstrate the role that mast cells play in spurring wet age-related macular degeneration and other chronic eye conditions.

Found in many body tissues, mast cells are known as the "first responders" to invading pathogens. When they dump their contents, the process is called degranulation. And when it happens on a prolonged basis due to repeated stimulation, degranulation can also trigger a long-term pathological eye response.

To test the notion that blocking degranulation is a promising approach to wet AMD, the investigators delivered a compound into the conjunctiva--tissue lining the inside of the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye--in one eye of a rodent, while leaving the other eye alone.

The result, a host of inflammatory responses that spurred retinal detachment and retinal damage in the targeted eye, while the other eye suffered no damage.

Then the scientists used disodium cromoglycate ahead of the 48/80 compound that caused the damage, and found that it significantly reduced harm in the rodents' eyes.

"By inhibiting the release of inflammatory mediators, pharmacological inhibition of mast cell degranulation could have important therapeutic potential for retinal diseases associated with choroidal enlargement and/or serous retinal detachments," noted Dr. Yvonne de Kozak.

- here's the release