Hereditary changes in the regulation of the immune system influence the risk of contracting AMD. Opthalmologists at the University Clinic in Bonn, working in co-operation with researchers from Göttingen, Regensburg and Great Britain, have now, for the first time, demonstrated that in cases of senile blindness the patient´s immune resistance is hyperactive throughout his entire body.
An Anglo-German research team embracing immunologists from Göttingen University has added a further important aspect to our current knowledge of the processes leading to senile blindness. For the first time, they have been able to show that in the case of patients with AMD their entire immune system is hyperactive. It had not previously been known whether such an immune reaction affecting the entire body played any role in this eye disease.The investigation was conducted by scientists from Bonn, Göttingen, Regensburg and Oxford under the leadership of Privatdozent Dr. Hendrik Scholl of Bonn University´s Eye Clinic. The results achieved by this research team have now been published in the current edition of the Public Library of Science´s (PloS) online journal ONE:
Faults in the (immune) System
The Anglo-German research team worked on the hypothesis that one cause of the appearance of senile blindness, AMD, might be faulty regulation of the so-called complement system. This system is an important element in our hereditary immune resistance, and is involved where inflammatory reactions occur. Previously, it had only been known that changes in genes containing the hereditary information for proteins in the complement system increase the risk of contracting AMD. Some of these proteins activate, others inhibit, the complement system.
The team examined the blood of a total of 112 AMD-patients and 67 healthy control persons for signs of faults in the regulation of their complement systems. They sought out changes in protein concentration which would indicate activation of the complement system. The experiments were conducted in Göttingen University´s Department for Cellular and Molecular Immunology under the leadership of Professor Dr. Martin Oppermann. The investigations of the patients´ blood did, indeed, reveal clear changes in the concentrations of a number of complement proteins which, moreover, correlated closely to the previously identified hereditary factors.
Dormant inflammatory Situation of the Body
“Our study has revealed for the first time that in the case of AMD patients the complement system is hyperactive over the entire body“, Dr. Hendrik Scholl declares. The typical substances indicating a permanent inflammatory reaction circulate in the blood. “These results infer that senile blindness may arise from a permanent state of inflammation in the body. This can obviously lie dormant for decades, then in advanced old age can lead to the appearance of symptoms of the disease. According to Dr. Scholl, the point of most acute vision, at the centre of the retina, appears to be the susceptible point.
In Germany, an estimated 4.5 million people suffer from age-dependent macular degeneration (AMD). With this disease, the point of most acute vision on the retina (macula) becomes subject to progressive deterioration. The patient can no longer read, and he or she loses the ability to lead an independent existence. Opthalmologists had hitherto known comparatively little about the causes of this disease, except that hereditary factors were involved, and also other easily influenced factors, such as smoking.
Andreas Archut | alfa
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy