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Eye (Lond). 2015 Aug;29(8):1013-26. doi: 10.1038/eye.2015.100. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Dementia of the eye: the role of amyloid beta in retinal degeneration.

Author information

1
Clinical and Experimental Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
2
School of Life Sciences (Biochemistry, Dementia Research Group), University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common causes of irreversible blindness affecting nearly 50 million individuals globally. The disease is characterised by progressive loss of central vision, which has significant implications for quality of life concerns in an increasingly ageing population. AMD pathology manifests in the macula, a specialised region of the retina, which is responsible for central vision and perception of fine details. The underlying pathology of this complex degenerative disease is incompletely understood but includes both genetic as well as epigenetic risk factors. The recent discovery that amyloid beta (Aβ), a highly toxic and aggregate-prone family of peptides, is elevated in the ageing retina and is associated with AMD has opened up new perspectives on the aetiology of this debilitating blinding disease. Multiple studies now link Aβ with key stages of AMD progression, which is both exciting and potentially insightful, as this identifies a well-established toxic agent that aggressively targets cells in degenerative brains. Here, we review the most recent findings supporting the hypothesis that Aβ may be a key factor in AMD pathology. We describe how multiple Aβ reservoirs, now reported in the ageing eye, may target the cellular physiology of the retina as well as associated layers, and propose a mechanistic pathway of Aβ-mediated degenerative change leading to AMD.

PMID:
26088679
PMCID:
PMC4541342
DOI:
10.1038/eye.2015.100
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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