Navigation Links
Genetic finding implicates innate immune system in major cause of blindness

Scientists have identified one of the genes implicated in age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in developed countries.

The research, published online today in the Lancet, adds to the growing understanding of the genetics of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which the researchers believe should ultimately lead to novel treatments for the disease.

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.

Researchers have previously identified a number of other genes or genetic loci (regions of the genome) which affect a person's susceptibility to the disease. Now, in research part-funded by the Wellcome Trust, researchers at the University of Southampton have shown that a particular variant of the gene SERPING1, carried by just under a quarter of the population, appears to offer protection against the disease.

The University of Southampton team and colleagues from the University of Iowa 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. These proteins are involved in regulating a part of the body's innate immune system known as the "complement system". The findings suggest that the complement system is malfunctioning, attacking the retina and choroid layer.

"It seems counterintuitive that a generalised innate immunity defence system should result in a localised disease of the eye in the elderly," Says Professor Andrew Lotery from the University of Southampton, corresponding author on the study. "However, it is becoming increasingly clear from research that this is the case. Previous AMD genes have already implicated the 'alternate' complement pathway, and our paper shows that the 'classical' complement pathway is also involved in this process."


Contact: Craig Brierley
Wellcome Trust

Related biology news :

1. Does the desire to consume alcohol and tobacco come from our genetic makeup?
2. Diverse genetic abnormalities lead to NF-κB activation in multiple myeloma
3. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
4. Genetics determine optimal drug dose of common anticoagulant
5. Claims of sex-related differences in genetic association studies often not properly validated
6. American College of Medical Genetics responds to new FDA labeling decision for warfarin
7. UNC study questions FDA genetic-screening guidelines for cancer drug
8. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
9. Selexis Announces Advanced Approach to Maximize Power of Genetic Elements for Rapid Development of High Performance Cell Lines
10. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
11. Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute ... "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for ... Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers ... --> --> Synthetic ... the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar , MD, describes ... wellness, and the business opportunities that arise from it ... Healthy Things . Long before health and wellness ... vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, was creating a ... the hospital or doctor,s office into the day-to-day lives ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... -- In the present market scenario, security is one ... verticals such as banking, healthcare, defense, electronic gadgets, and ... secure & simplified access control and growing rate of ... bank accounts, misuse of users, , and so on. ... and smartphones are expected to provide potential opportunities for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong and ... (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to continue ... following review of the final interim efficacy and ... Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated castration- ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, ... their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other ... stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York on ... Dr. Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. ... communication and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: ... behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as ... no corporate developments that would cause the recent movements ... --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company ...
Breaking Biology Technology: