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Hyperactive immune resistance brings blindness in old age
Date:7/24/2008

lement 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 Gttingen Universitys 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.


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Contact: Dr. Hendrik Scholl
hendrik.scholl@ukb.uni-bonn.de
49-228-287-15505
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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