Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common disease that can result in blindness. It is caused by cell death in the eye’s retina, which is partly responsible for transforming visual stimuli into electrical signals to the brain.
Asian populations tend to exhibit a particular type of the disease, called exudative AMD, which includes changes in the blood vessels of the eye. Caucasians, however, tend to exhibit AMD without these vascular abnormalities. Now, a research team led by Michiaki Kubo at the RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine in Yokohama has identified four genomic areas that increase the risk for exudative AMD in Japanese individuals1.
The researchers searched for genomic regions linked to exudative AMD by investigating single-nucleotide changes in the human genome. They compared the frequencies of 500,000 single-nucleotide changes between individuals with exudative AMD and normal, or control, individuals. Other research groups had previously performed this kind of genome-wide association study (GWAS) in Caucasian populations, but not in the Japanese.
Kubo and colleagues began by performing a GWAS on 800 Japanese individuals with exudative AMD and 3,000 Japanese controls; they identified two genomic regions previously linked to AMD in Caucasians. This suggested to the researchers that the mechanisms underlying AMD in both populations are likely to be similar.
In a ‘replication study’ using 700 patients and 15,000 controls, the researchers then carefully examined 77 additional genomic areas that showed potential as candidate exudative AMD-associated regions in their initial GWAS. The replication study yielded two additional genomic regions that were linked to exudative AMD. One of these—on chromosome 4—covered four nearby genes, so the researchers were unable to pinpoint with certainty which of the genes were responsible for the disease risk. However, another region—on chromosome 8—was linked to the gene called TNFRSF10A, which encodes a receptor expressed in the eye that modulates inflammation and cell death.
The variant of the gene that Kubo and colleagues linked to exudative AMD seemed to regulate the expression of the receptor. “We are next planning to investigate exactly how the signaling pathway initiated by this receptor would affect the development of exudative AMD,” explain Kubo and Satoshi Arakawa, the study’s first author.
The identification of these genomic regions that are linked to exudative AMD could aid in the development of new therapies. “Our results will also help in the construction of risk prediction models for exudative AMD,” say Kubo and Arakawa.
The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Laboratory for Genotyping Development, RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences