Genetic variant may have effect on macular degeneration

March 11, 2008

According to research released in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, genetic variations that affect the production of several chemicals in the inflammation pathways could provide more information about age-related macular degeneration.

Southampton, England-According to research released in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, genetic variations that affect the production of several chemicals in the inflammation pathways could provide more information about age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Genes controlling the production and suppression of cytokines were investigated by researchers from the University of Southampton. The four specific gene variations each related to control of expression of certain cytokines.

DNA samples from people aged 55 or older were examined and 478 were people presenting with AMD and 555 people showed no signs of the disease. One genetic variant examined (251 A/T) is associated with the gene-boosting production of interleukin 8 (IL-8), which in previous studies was more prevalent in patients with AMD.

A test could be created to help screen for AMD in a larger study, according to the authors. Further studies are necessary before any direct causal relationships can be confirmed, though, according to researchers.