Proteomics applied to search for AMD therapies

April 30, 2006

The study of proteomics could identify candidate proteins thatmight be targets for pharmaceutical therapies for age-relatedmacular degeneration (AMD), said Deborah A. Ferrington, PhD,assistant professor in the departments of ophthalmology andbiochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics at the University ofMinnesota, Minneapolis.

The study of proteomics could identify candidate proteins that might be targets for pharmaceutical therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), said Deborah A. Ferrington, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of ophthalmology and biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

She and her colleagues analyzed the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and neurosensory retina in cadaver eyes to evaluate protein expression changes at different disease stages. They identified 12 proteins that changed in the RPE; the largest group were heat-shocked proteins. Changes were also found in proteins linked to apoptotic signaling.

In the neurosensory retina, the investigators looked at proteomes in the macula and the periphery. Twenty-eight proteins changed in all, although only 3 were identified in the macula; 12 proteins changed in the periphery, and 11 in both the macula and the periphery.

Two of the proteins that changed in the macula play a role in oxidant biology; those that changed in both sites included several involved in protein folding and microtubules. The investigation also showed that most proteins changed in the early stage of disease.

Although the investigation is continuing and results need to be confirmed, work to date is promising.

"We have identified candidate proteins that could hopefully could provide useful targets for early intervention," Dr. Ferrington said.