A new non-invasive imaging diagnostic procedure designed by Wayne State University researchers could help treat neurodegenerative diseases of the retina along with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Bruce Berkowitz, a Wayne State professor of anatomy, cell biology, and ophthalmology, says oxidative stress — an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to combat their harmful effects — has been implicated in currently untreatable degenerative diseases of the retina, including rod cell-atrophy in retinitis pigmentosa.
“However, clinical benefits from antioxidant treatment have not been realized … because we cannot assess in vivo how well drugs act as anti-oxidants,” Berkowitz says. “It’s not possible to objectively evaluate anti-oxidant treatment efficacy in individuals since there are few ways to directly and non-invasively assess oxidative stress in retinal cells. …”
In the article, Measuring In Vivo Free Radical Production by the Outer Retina, Berkowitz says the imaging approach offers new perspectives regarding oxidative stress and its potential treatments. The approach measures free radical production from outer retinal cells without the need for special equipment, and has high potential for immediate clinical application.
“The proposed studies are expected to have high impact and applicability beyond the retina in other oxidative stress-based disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” Berkowitz says.
The article is published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.