Their research, which is published online today in The Lancet, adds to the growing understanding of the genetics of age-related macular degeneration and they believe it will better help predict those at risk and ultimately lead to better treatments.
The team, including Professor Andrew Lotery and his research group in the University's Clinical Neurosciences Division, together with Dr Sarah Ennis and Professor Andy Collins from the Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics Group in the University's Human Genetics Division, found an association with the SERPING1 gene, which is involved in production of proteins for the 'complement' system within the eye, which helps clear foreign material and infection.
Together with colleagues from the University of Iowa, they found evidence of proteins expressed by SERPING1 in the retina and the choroid layer (the vascular layer next to the retina), the two areas affected by AMD. The findings suggest that the complement system is malfunctioning, attacking the retina and choroid layer.
Andrew Lotery, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University, comments: "Our study also shows that a particular variant of the gene SERPING1, carried by just under a quarter of the population, appears to offer protection against the disease.
"I am delighted that researchers at the University of Southampton have made such an important contribution to understanding this devastating disease. Now we must take this research further to ensure patients get maximum benefit from this discovery."
Almost two-thirds of people aged 80 years or older are affected by AMD to some degree, with more than one in ten left blind by the disease. In the UK, the annual economic burden from the disease has been estimated to be as high as £80 million, a figure set to increase as our ageing population expands. The total yearly costs of health-care usage are seven-times higher for patients with AMD than for those unaffected.
This research was supported by the Macula Vision Research Foundation, the Macular Disease Society, the Wellcome Trust, Brian Mercer Trust, the American Health Assistance Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Professor Lotery's work in researching eye disease is supported by a specific charity called The Gift of Sight Appeal www.giftofsight.org.uk, which is administered by the Development Office at the University of Southampton.
Sarah Watts | alfa
How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles
The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research
Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI
The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...
World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles
The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.
Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.
In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...
Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.
It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:
The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.
One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...
16.01.2019 | Event News
14.01.2019 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Event News
18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2019 | Life Sciences
18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine