GENOME MEDICINE: Radeke and team's study reveals gene expression networks underlying Age-Related Macular Degeneration

February 26, 2012

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, especially in developed countries. There is currently no known cure or treatment for the vast majority of AMD patients. A new study led by scientists at UC Santa Barbara has identified genes whose expression levels can identify people with AMD, as well as genes that distinguish clinical AMD subtypes. The findings, which appear in BioMed Central’s journal Genome Medicine, could offer new candidate targets for the development of AMD diagnostics and therapies. READ MORE (UCSB Featured News)

Fluorescent micrograph of a macula with extensive drusen accumulation. Drusen accumulate between the RPE and the choroid. In addition to being sites of inflammation, drusen are believed to disrupt normal RPE and choroid function, leading to changes in gene expression and eventual loss of vision.
Fundus photographs of the macular region of an eye from a normal individual and an eye from a patient with the dry form of age-related macular degeneration. The accumulation of sub-retinal deposits called drusen are evident in the AMD eye. Drusen, which appear as yellowish blotches in these photographs, are composed of lipids and proteins and are often sites of local inflammatory responses.
Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Robert Avery, California Retina Consultants.