PHOTOCHROMIC MOLECULES FOR THE TREATMENT OF DYSTROPHIES
The invention relates to a family of photochromic amphiphilic molecules that spontaneously place themselves in the cell membrane and following a light stimulus generate a significant variation in the membrane potential. These molecules have the ability to photo-regulate membrane turnover and secretory activity, allowing to separate neuronal photostimulation from physiological activity for the treatment of retinal dystrophies, such as retinitis pigmentosa and senile macular degeneration.
Retinal dystrophies, such as retinitis pigmentosa and senile macular degeneration, are caused by genetic mutations that compromise the survival of the cones and rods in the eye. At the moment, there is no pharmacological treatment to prevent photoreceptor degeneration. This invention relates to a family of photochromic amphiphilic molecules, known as azobenzene, that spontaneously place themselves in the cell membrane and generate a significant variation in the membrane potential following a light stimulus. These properties are particularly advantageous in the modulation of the activity of neurons, as demonstrated by the generation of firing signals following photoexcitation in neuronal networks containing synaptic blockers.
- Photopharmacology for the optical stimulation of cells.
- Relevant reversible variation of membrane potential;
- Elimination of the hyperexcitability caused by blocking of K + v channels;
- Increase of the half-life of the compound;
- Activity with visible light instead of ultraviolet harmful to the eyes and in general for biological tissues.