For the first time, scientists at the Vision Institute (Sorbonne University) and the National Institute of Health and Medicine have prevented and reversed glaucoma in over 70 mice by injecting them with a single gene, according to a report in Futurism.
The ingenious gene that the scientific team injected into the glaucomatous mice is called Ngb, which codes for neuroglobin, a protein that is abundant throughout the brain and eye. Neuroglobin scavenges toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and other radicals that corrode the body. It also protects the mitochondria — the cell’s smoky, ROS-ridden energy producer — in a host of ways. The Paris team showed how in glaucomatous retinal nerve cells, there is significant mitochondrial dysfunction as well as a 50 percent loss of neuroglobin. Unlike most other cells, they are highly dependent on mitochondria for energy supply, since they don’t have the fatty myelin sheath to insulate energy and boost synaptic signaling.