AMD animal model discovered at Cleveland Clinic

February 6, 2008

Cleveland-A Cleveland Clinic research team has developed the first animal model of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and it is expected to enable researchers to study the development and progression of AMD and conduct pre-clinical testing of new therapeutics.

Cleveland-A Cleveland Clinic research team has developed the first animal model of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and it is expected to enable researchers to study the development and progression of AMD and conduct pre-clinical testing of new therapeutics.

The research team, led by Joe G. Hollyfield, PhD, of the institution’s Cole Eye Institute, modified specific proteins found in mouse blood so that the mouse’s immune system was forced to mount a response. This response causes the mouse to display characteristics of AMD in a short amount of time.

Specifically, Dr. Hollyfield and his team immunized mice with mouse serum albumin adducted with oxidation fragments of the long-chain fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid. Earlier studies by this group found that the fragments were localized in drusen from donor eye tissues and in plasma samples from patients with AMD. The immunized mice develop antibodies to the oxidation fragment, deposit complement in the outer eye wall, accumulate drusen below the retinal pigment epithelium, and show features of geographic atrophy.
 
“More than 8 million Americans are living with vision loss caused by AMD, and 250,000 new cases [are] diagnosed each year,” said Dr. Hollyfield. “The discovery of the animal model of AMD presents a significant opportunity to efficiently and effectively develop and test novel therapies to both prevent the disease and slow vision loss. Research conducted today may one day help find a cure for this progressive disease.”