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Cleveland Clinic finds AMD animal model

Article

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.

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