Macular Degeneration Linked to Aging Immune Cells


Source: Washington University School of Medicine

Summary: A new research study suggests that aging immune cells increase the risk for age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in the U.S.


Loss of vision

Studying mice and cells from patients, vision researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that as immune cells called macrophages get older, they are more likely to contribute to inflammation and abnormal blood vessel growth in the back of the eye. This can damage vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Credit: Danyel Cavazos/ Michael Worful

Prof. Rajendra S. Apte said, “It’s possible to envision immune-based therapies that would tweak the level of microRNAs so that these macrophage cells no longer contribute to disease”, “Such therapies are a long way off, and we need to do a lot more research, but if we could make these older cells more like the younger ones, we might be able to prevent a great deal of vision loss.”


More Information: Lin JB et al, “Macrophage microRNA-150 promotes pathological angiogenesis as seen in age-related macular degeneration”, JCI Insight (2018). doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.120157


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