Recap on 2020: Publication on miR-155 in retinal degenerations
In October of 2020 the paper “Inhibition of microRNA-155 Protects Retinal Function Through Attenuation of Inflammation in Retinal Degeneration” was published in Molecular Neurobiology. As the first, first author publication for CVR postdoctoral researcher, then PhD student, Riemke Aggio-Bruce, this marked another milestone for the CVR lab in 2020.
Following Kartik Saxena’s PhD work in 2015 on the expression of microRNA (small regulatory molecules) in response to retinal degenerations (link below), miR-155 became a key molecule of interest for it’s role in inflammatory processes in the retina. We received NHMRC funding for our work on microRNA as therapeutics for retinal degenerations in 2017 allowing us to further investigate the function of this molecule.
Our paper entitled “Inhibition of microRNA-155 Protects Retinal Function Through Attenuation of Inflammation in Retinal Degeneration” demonstrated that not only is miR-155 increased in the retina during degeneration, but also in serum and lipid based communicative vesicles, known as extracellular vesicles. It was discovered that blocking miR-155 function through administration of a microRNA inhibitor prevented the typical activation and distribution of immune cells within the retina and increased retinal function. We also show, for the first time in retina, the predominant expression of miR-155 to be derived from glial cells (microglia and Müller glia).
Although the precise mechanisms underlying microRNA function in the retina remain to be disentangled for effective application of combinatorial therapies, we show in this paper, the potential for the use of miR-155 in slowing the progression of retinal degenerations.