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Metabolites that determine pupil color may affect retinal health

New Delhi: Altering levels of a metabolite responsible for determining pupil color in the ‘kynurenine pathway’ affects the health of the retina. This matter has come to light in a new study. The ‘Kynurenin Pathway’ is a key regulator of the immune system, which plays a key role in many biological functions including generating cellular energy. Germany-based Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) studied the cinnabar, cardinal, white and scarlet genes found in Drosophila species of flies. These genes are named after their role in determining pupil color. These genes are primarily responsible for giving varying degrees of brown color to the eyes of flies. According to the scientists involved in the study, the cinnabar, cardinal, white and scarlet genes encode components of the ‘kynurenine pathway’, which are believed to be responsible for determining eye colour, apart from various biological functions.

Scientists have found that altering the levels of a metabolite in the ‘kynurenine pathway’ can affect the retina and brain. He explained that the ‘kynurenine pathway’ involves biochemical reactions in cells that convert a basic component into other important components. Scientists have developed the kynurenine pathway based on genetics, dietary changes and biochemical analysis in Drosophila flies. studied the various changes taking place in

They found that the relative difference in the levels of the retinal metabolite ‘3-hydroxykynurenine’ and its protective metabolite ‘kynurenic acid’ determined the level of degeneration in the retina. Sarita Hebbar, who was part of the study team, said that while the increase in the level of 3-hydroxykynurenine increases the damage to the retina when the eyes are stressed, the increase in the level of kynurenic acid protects it. He said that this study suggests a way to maintain retinal health by making appropriate changes in the level of the metabolite.

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