UCI researchers discover cause, develop pharmacological treatment for reducing retinitis pigmentosa vision loss

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the lack of a protein called Adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1) leads to the accumulation of ceramides in the retina, causing the death of photoreceptors and vision loss. They discovered that a combination of two drugs, desipramine and L-cycloserine, can lower ceramide levels, protecting these cells and improving vision in mice.

The study concluded that a build-up of ceramides in the retina damages the cells responsible for vision and triggers inflammation. The drugs helped lower ceramide levels, preserving the vision cells in mice and enhancing their ability to see in daylight.

What this means for Usher syndrome: This research is essential for conditions like Usher syndrome, where vision loss happens due to the breakdown of vision cells. Further study may result in potential treatments to preserve vision for those with Usher syndrome. 

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