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Vision researchers at Wayne State discover new therapy to treat eye infections

May 20, 2021

Researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine have discovered that a metabolite called itaconate produced during cellular metabolism plays a role in protecting the eye from abnormal inflammation during infection. The metabolite can be used with antibiotics to treat eye infections.

A metabolite is a substance formed in, or as an end result of, metabolism.

The study was led by Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences and of the Kresge Eye Institute.

“Eyes are incredibly resistant to infection, however, ocular surgeries such as cataract or vitrectomy often predispose individuals to develop infection. As the aging population increases worldwide, there is increased demand for eye surgeries, hence, proportional higher incidence of acquiring postsurgical infections,” Dr. Kumar said.

The findings, “Integrative metabolomics and transcriptomics identifies itaconate as an adjunct therapy to treat ocular bacterial infection,” are published in the May issue of Cell Reports Medicine, a journal by Cell Press.