Scientists Discover Link Between Certain Virus And AMD

by Admin on June 1, 2012

(MacularDegenerations.com) Scientists in the United States of America have discovered that a form of eye-related herpes-virus contagion is linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to Science A Go Go on May 22.

The findings, which were published in PLoS Pathogens, show that cytomegalovirus in people triggers the creation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is a signal protein that plays a role in the production of new blood vessels. However, the production of these blood vessels leads to damage of the retinal tissue, which sets off a chain of events that includes the development of AMD and, further down the road, vision loss.

Richard D. Dix, an immunologist at the Georgia State University Viral Immunology Center, said in the article that, before the research, things that were believed to contribute to the onset of AMD included smoking, genetics and diet high in fat. He added in the article that the list must now include  infections agent.

According to the article, cytomegalovirus is far from being a rare herpes virus in humans. The article added that it is usually acquired during youth and eight-tenths of the populace is believed to posses the relevant antibodies for it. In people whose immune system is functioning properly, the virus stays dormant. But, when people reach old age, their immune system functions less efficiently, which enables the virus to increase rapidly.

According to the article, Dix said that discovering that the virus is one of the factors that can lead to the development of AMD means there are now further opportunities for new types of treatment. For example, it could be possible to address the issue by lessening the viral load courtesy of antiviral medication or altering the genetics that play a role in VEGF upregulation, he said. He explained in the article that it could be possible to lessen production and reduce the adverse impact of AMD by taking out the genes of the VEGF-triggering virus.

While AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., research shows that people who adopt a healthy lifestyle, eat lots of leafy green vegetables and consume good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can substantially lower their chances of developing AMD.

Reference: http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20120421185312data_trunc_sys.shtml

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