A New Study
A new molecular mechanism that may cause age-related macular degeneration has been discovered by a Canadian study published in the journal Science (AMD). The study, conducted at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosement in Montreal, demonstrates how life stressors like obesity reprogram immune system cells, making them destructive to the eye as it ages. Wanting to know why some people with a genetic predisposition develop AMD while others are spared, considerable effort had been invested in understanding the genes responsible for AMD.,
What is Age Related Macular Degeneration
AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world, affecting approximately 196 million people in 2020. It is available in two varieties:
- Dry AMD, which is characterized by the accumulation of fatty deposits at the back of the eye and the death of nerve cells in the eye, is a type of AMD.
- Wet AMD is defined by diseased blood vessels that form in the most sensitive part of the sight-generating tissue, known as the macula.
It is well known that the immune system in an AMD patient’s eye becomes dysregulated and aggressive. Immune cells normally keep the eye healthy, but contact with pathogens such as bacteria and viruses can cause them to malfunction. Simultaneously, when the body is exposed to stressors such as excess fat in obesity, immune cells are activated, making obesity the second most important non-genetic risk factor for developing AMD after smoking.
The study used obesity as a model in their study to accelerate and exaggerate the stressors that the body faces throughout life. They discovered that transient obesity or a history of obesity causes long-term changes in the DNA architecture of immune cells, making them more vulnerable to the production of inflammatory molecules.
They discovered that transient obesity or a history of obesity causes long-term changes in the DNA architecture of immune cells, making them more vulnerable to the production of inflammatory molecules.The findings provided important information about the biology of the immune cells that cause AMD and also allows for the development of a more tailored treatment. The researchers hope that their discovery will pique the interest of other scientists in diseases characterized by increased noninflammatory, such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
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