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Subspecialties Basic & Translational Research, Retina

ARVO in Focus: Berberine and Pupil Power

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Bolt from the blueA study has linked blue light exposure to AMD damage through a protein (ubiquitin-protein ligase E3D, UBE3D) associated with AMD in East Asian populations (1). UBE3D was also associated with DNA damage response in the study, which found that the AMD-associated V379 mutation might be causing oxidative damage, and therefore be a target for therapeutics.

Berberine dream

Researchers have determined that berberine (BBR), an extract produced by a traditional Chinese plant, has therapeutic activity to combat thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) (2). The study found that BBR had positive effects on adipogenesis, inflammation, hyaluronan production, and fibrosis. The work builds on recent findings of berberine’s effects on mechanisms of inflammation, fibrosis, and lipometabolism, and sets a foundation for the safe and affordable compound.

Pupil power

The pathogenesis of central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) is relatively unclear. But it is clear that CSC primarily affects middle-aged men under chronic stress, and is thought to arise from choroidal disturbances. To better understand, diagnose, and treat CSC, researchers looked to the autonomic nervous system – a key player in the stress response – to explore pupillary responses and heart rate variability in the condition. They found that it was possible to associate CSC with these biological metrics, and that larger pupil dilation during mental tasks could also be a marker of psychophysiological stress (3).

Scaling a pseudo font

Researchers have developed a new pseudo font for measuring visual acuity that has a consistent complexity and a refined degradation under blur (4). The font, PseudoSloan, is based on the optotype font Sloan, uses glyphs that are based on the Latin alphabet on a letter-by-letter basis, and allows for separation of orthography (recognition of a letter) from lexical knowledge (formation of a word).

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  1. N Xu et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 63, 7 (2022). PMID: 36094642.
  2. J Diao et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 63, 6 (2022). PMID: 36094643.
  3. X Zhoun et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 63, 2 (2022). PMID: 36066317.
  4. VY Vildavski et al., J Vis, 22, 7 (2022). PMID: 36074477.
About the Author
Geoffrey Potjewyd

Associate Editor, The Ophthalmologist

The lion’s share of my PhD was spent in the lab, and though I mostly enjoyed it (mostly), what I particularly liked was the opportunity to learn about the latest breakthroughs in research. Communicating science to a wider audience allows me to scratch that itch without working all week only to find my stem cell culture has given up the ghost on the Friday (I’m not bitter). Fortunately for me, it turns out writing is actually fun – so by working for Texere I get to do it every day, whilst still being an active member of the clinical and research community.

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