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Subspecialties Cornea / Ocular Surface, Basic & Translational Research

Root of the Problem

A study has uncovered a potential therapeutic target for one of ophthalmology’s most unusual conditions: Sjögren’s syndrome. Most common in women between the ages of 40 and 60, the disease sees the exocrine glands become infiltrated with lymphocytes, instigating severe damage to the salivary and lacrimal glands. The researchers compared samples from patients with Sjögren’s syndrome and healthy controls, and found that those with the condition had abnormally high levels of microRNA-744 – a molecule blocking the production of anti-inflammatory mediator Pellino3 (PELI3).

By downregulating microRNA-744 expression, the researchers were able to reduce ocular inflammation. “Our research provides the opportunity to treat the root cause of the disease, rather than just the symptoms,” said co-author Joan Ní Gabhann-Dromgoole, Senior Scientist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland.

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  1. Q Pilson et al., Nature, 10, 7484 (2020). PMID: 32366870.

About the Author

Phoebe Harkin

Associate Editor of The Ophthalmologist

I’ve always loved telling stories. So much so, I decided to make a job of it. I finished a Masters in Magazine Journalism and spent three years working as a creative copywriter before itchy feet sent me (back)packing. It took seven months and 13 countries, but I’m now happily settled on The Ophthalmologist, where I’m busy getting stuck into all things eyeballs.

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