Macrophages--cells involved in the immune response--may have a crucial role in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Rajendra Apte and colleagues from the Washington University School of Medicine used a mouse model of choroidal neovascularization--new vessel formation, (CNV) --which is an important part of AMD, to show that preventing macrophage entry into the eye encouraged new vessel formation, whereas direct injection of macrophages significantly inhibited this process.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 y of age in at least three continents. CNV is the process by which abnormal blood vessels develop underneath the retina. CNV develops in 10% of patients with AMD but accounts for up to 90% of the blindness from AMD. This study suggests that regulators of macrophages may be a possible therapeutic target in AMD.
Citation: Apte RS, Richter J, Herndon J, Ferguson TA (2006) Macrophages inhibit neovascularization in a murine model of age-related macular degeneration. PLoS Med 3(8): e310.
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· Caption: The photograph demonstrates bleeding and leakage underneath the retina of a patient who has experienced severe vision loss from age-related macular degeneration.
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