New study identifies 87 genes linked to AMD

Posted: Friday 26 April 2024
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Researchers at the National Eye Institute in the USA have discovered 87 genes in retinal cells that could be affected by environmental factors which may influence the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The study, published in Nature Communications, is the first to look at how genes and the environment work together in the eye to increase or decrease risk of AMD.

The team studied 160 retinas from people with AMD who had donated their eyes for research, to understand how genes function and interact with environmental factors, such as smoking and diet.

The study also revealed that specific parts of the cells, known as mitochondria, and certain cellular functions, such as oxygen usage and structural maintenance. These play a role in causing AMD, and are influenced by whether genes are switched on or off by environmental factors.

Researchers are continuing to investigate how these gene changes contribute to the disease progression and how they interact with other genetic and environmental factors.

Geraldine Hoad, head of research grants at the Macular Society, said: “We already know smoking increases the likelihood of AMD, and these findings further emphasise the important role lifestyle factors play. Although more research is needed, this study is a big step toward understanding AMD better and finding new ways to treat it.”

Read more about the study. 

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