New research shows that it is possible to keep dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from advancing to the wet form of the eye condition that can lead to severe seeing impairments, reported Medical News Today.
According to the 10 April report, a study spearheaded by Trinity College in Ireland shows that people with dry macular degeneration who control or ramp up the amounts of the IL-18 immune system component in their retinas could, but doing so, prevent the onset of wet AMD. Dry AMD is more common than is wet AMD. Only a small portion of those with dry AMD, which develops slowly over numerous years, go on to develop wet AMD, which develops quickly and usually leads to substantial reduction of central vision.
The researchers noted as part of their background data that, while previous studies on the issue have speculated that immune system activation contributes to the advancement of AMD, there is still little info on the underlying biological machinery, according to the report. They explained that such machinery includes, but is not limited to, the molecular pathways responsible for exorbitant drusen formation. Drusen, according to the report, refers to certain multicolored deposits in the retina.
Researchers, who looked at drusen samples taken from patients with AMD as well as other studies on the eye condition in mouse patients, found some molecular pathways with NLRP3 — an inflammasone protein — would when activated secrete IL-18 and IL-1beta — inflammatory components.
The report cited Dr Matthew Campbell, co-author of the study and a member of Trinity College’s Ocular Genetics division, as saying that researchers discovered that IL-18 actually inhibits the development of wet AMD. Meanwhile, Dr. Sarah Doyle, who also works with Trinity College’s Ocular Genetics division, added in the report that researchers found that controlling or increasing IL-18 levels in retinas of those who have dry AMD could keep the ailment from developing into wet AMD. She added that the finding presents hope that new therapies for AMD can ultimately be developed.
According to the report, the research study was a collaboration between Trinity College and the Cole Eye Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. Funding came from Fighting Blindness Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and American Health Assistance Foundation.
A condition that mostly impacts the elderly, AMD is an eye condition for which there is presently no cure.
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