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Curr Mol Med. 2019;19(10):705-718. doi: 10.2174/1566524019666190828150625.

Molecular Mechanisms of Complement System Proteins and Matrix Metalloproteinases in the Pathogenesis of Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

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Department of Biotechnology, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad Campus, 22060, Pakistan.
Department of Biosciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Pakistan.
Department of Ophthalmology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disorder affecting predominantly the older people above the age of 50 years in which the macular region of the retina deteriorates, resulting in the loss of central vision. The key factors associated with the pathogenesis of AMD are age, smoking, dietary, and genetic risk factors. There are few associated and plausible genes involved in AMD pathogenesis. Common genetic variants (with a minor allele frequency of >5% in the population) near the complement genes explain 40-60% of the heritability of AMD. The complement system is a group of proteins that work together to destroy foreign invaders, trigger inflammation, and remove debris from cells and tissues. Genetic changes in and around several complement system genes, including the CFH, contribute to the formation of drusen and progression of AMD. Similarly, Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that are normally involved in tissue remodeling also play a critical role in the pathogenesis of AMD. MMPs are involved in the degradation of cell debris and lipid deposits beneath retina but with age their functions get affected and result in the drusen formation, succeeding to macular degeneration. In this review, AMD pathology, existing knowledge about the normal and pathological role of complement system proteins and MMPs in the eye is reviewed. The scattered data of complement system proteins, MMPs, drusenogenesis, and lipofusogenesis have been gathered and discussed in detail. This might add new dimensions to the understanding of molecular mechanisms of AMD pathophysiology and might help in finding new therapeutic options for AMD.


AMD therapeutics; Higher age diseases; complement involvement in AMD; drusen formation; genetics based pathogenesis; matrix metalloproteinases.

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