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Expert Rev Mol Med. 2010 Oct 20;12:e34. doi: 10.1017/S146239941000164X.

Oxidation and age-related macular degeneration: insights from molecular biology.

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Clinical Neurosciences Division, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. It is a multifactorial disease, and current therapy predominantly limits damage only when it has already occurred. The macula is a source of high metabolic activity, and is therefore exposed to correspondingly high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). With age, the balance between production of ROS and local antioxidant levels is shifted, and damage ensues. Systemic ROS and antioxidant levels in AMD reflect these local processes. Genetic studies investigating mutations in antioxidant genes in AMD are inconclusive and further studies are indicated, especially to determine the role of mitochondria. Oral antioxidant supplements could be beneficial, and diet modification may help. Future treatments might either increase antioxidant capacity or reduce the production of ROS, using methods such as genetic manipulation. This article reviews the role of oxidative stress in AMD and the potential therapies that might have a role in preventing the blindness resulting from this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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