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Role for macrophages in age-related macular degeneration

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.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
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