AMD causes light-sensitive cells in the retina to break down, resulting in progressive loss of central vision. Of the two forms of AMD, the "dry" is more common than the "wet" form. Wet macular degeneration can rapidly lead to blindness, while the dry AMD progresses more slowly.
Last year, Josephine Hoh, associate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health and Ophthalmology at Yale and senior author on one of the two new studies, identified a gene for dry AMD and found that both wet and dry AMD are associated with a variant in the complement factor H (CFH) gene on chromosome 1.
Hoh now reports they have found a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)—a one-base change in the sequence—of the regulatory part of the HTRA1 gene on chromosome 10 that leads to greatly increased risk of developing the wet form of AMD.
According to Hoh, buildup of abnormal blood vessels in Caucasian patients is compounded by development of large waste deposits called drusen. Chinese patients, she said, develop little to no drusen and progress directly to wet AMD. This study demonstrates that these two major genes, CFH and HTRA1, in two different biological pathways, each affect the risk for a distinct component of the AMD phenotype: CFH influences the drusen of dry AMD, whereas HTRA1 influences blood vessel development, the hallmark of the wet disease type. When the two processes are combined, it leads to the composite characteristics that are seen in some cases of AMD.
Hoh, her collaborators in Hong Kong, and her colleagues at Yale including Michael Snyder and Colin Barnstable in the Departments of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and Ophthalmology, did trans-racial gene mapping by comparing genomes between precisely defined populations to find the incidence of SNP in a Chinese population—96 with AMD and 130 with normal vision.
"We found that patients with the HTRA1 SNP were 10 times more likely to have wet AMD than those without this gene variant," said Hoh. "While this is only preliminary work, it points to possible directions for future treatment of wet AMD."
Hoh also worked on a replication study led by Kang Zhang at the University of Utah School of Medicine that found a link between the same SNP and AMD. Zhang and his team studied 581 Caucasian patients with AMD and 309 with normal vision. These patients had wet AMD as well as a large amount of drusen.
To confirm the association, the Utah team also examined several donor eyes and measured the expression of the gene and the encoded protein. They found that the expressions were elevated in the eyes of patients who carry HTRA1.
"The marker we have identified is very much associated with AMD, but no one has ever pinpointed the clinical features of the gene. We need to conduct further analysis in order to understand the biological mechanisms," said Hoh.
Karen N. Peart | EurekAlert!
Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy