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WVU researcher explores link between intercellular communication and incurable blindness

West Virginia University researcher Jianhai Du is investigating how the retina pigment epithelium turns proline—an amino acid—into fuel that the retina can easily burn. Using animal models and primary human cells, he and his team discovered that if the RPE can’t process proline properly, the retina is undernourished, and retinal degenerative diseases result. Their findings, which appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, may point to innovative treatments that make incurable blindness preventable.

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