Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lack of VEGF can cause defects similar to dry macular degeneration

Date:
November 13, 2009
Source:
Schepens Eye Research Institute
Summary:
Scientists have found that when the eye is missing a diffusible form of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), i.e. one that when secreted can reach other cells at a distance, the retina shows defects similar to "dry" macular degeneration.

Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have found that when the eye is missing a diffusible form of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), i.e. one that when secreted can reach other cells at a distance, the retina shows defects similar to "dry" macular degeneration, also called geographic atrophy (GA).

Related Articles


This finding, published in the November 3, 2009 print edition of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), not only increases the understanding of the causes of this blinding disease, but it may also impact the use of anti-VEGF drugs, such as Lucentis, which are designed to neutralize VEGF in eyes with "wet" macular degeneration.

"These results are significant for several reasons. We know little about what causes GA or how to treat it. Our discovery may be an important piece of the puzzle. It shows that reduced VEGF from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), RPE, the bottommost layer of the retina, to the choriocapillaris (CC) -- the small blood vessels beneath retina-- leads to degeneration of the CC. Therefore, the continuous blockage of VEGF may contribute to the development of or a worsening of GA," says Patricia D'Amore, principal investigator of the study and senior scientist at Schepens.

VEGF is a protein that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. The eye produces several different forms of VEGF that differ in their size and their ability to move away from the producing cell.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that destroys the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for detailed vision needed for reading, driving and face recognition. It comes in two types -- "wet" and "dry." In wet AMD, a pathological overproduction of VEGF leads to the development of abnormal blood vessels, which leak and damage the retina. Wet AMD can be treated with some success with anti-VEGF drugs that block abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage. Dry macular degeneration develops less rapidly, and is related to an accumulation of debris under the retina that can advance to GA where RPE and underlying vessels are lost.

Knowing that the RPE in the adult produced VEGF, the Schepens team hypothesized that in a healthy individual ,the RPE produces forms of VEGF that, when secreted, can move away from the RPE and reach the underlying CC to support its function and survival. The CC vessels are extremely important as they supply the photoreceptors (the light- and color-sensitive cells in the macula) with oxygen and nutrients necessary for vision.

In the PNAS study, the researchers tested their hypothesis using a genetic mouse model in which the RPE produced a form of VEGF that was unable to diffuse. As the mice aged, they began to display an age-dependent degeneration of both the CC and RPE, culminating with the death of photoreceptors and vision loss, similar to that observed in GA,.

The next step in the research, according to the first author Dr. Magali Saint-Geniez, is to determine if this model can be used to investigate the role of RPE-CC interaction in AMD and to design new therapies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Schepens Eye Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Schepens Eye Research Institute. "Lack of VEGF can cause defects similar to dry macular degeneration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102121506.htm>.
Schepens Eye Research Institute. (2009, November 13). Lack of VEGF can cause defects similar to dry macular degeneration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102121506.htm
Schepens Eye Research Institute. "Lack of VEGF can cause defects similar to dry macular degeneration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102121506.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins