Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease affecting many elderly individuals. It has a multifactorial pathogenesis and is associated with numerous environmental (e.g. smoking, light and nutrition) and genetic risk factors. A breakthrough in the mechanisms causing AMD is emerging; the involvement of the alternative pathway of the complement system appears to play a pivotal role. This has led to the statement that AMD is a disease caused by a hyperactive complement system, allowing the term ‘complementopathy' to define it more precisely. Abundant evidence includes: the identification of drusen components as activators of complement, immunohistochemical data showing the presence of many species of the complement system in the retinal pigment epithelium-Bruch's membrane-choroidocapillary region of AMD eyes, a strong association of AMD with certain genetic complement protein variants, raised complement levels in blood from AMD patients and the preliminary successful treatments of geographic atrophy with complement factor D (FD) inhibitors. FD is the rate-limiting enzyme of the alternative complement pathway, and is produced by adipose tissue. Recent findings suggest that nutrition may play a role in controlling the level of FD in the circulation. Addressing modifiable risk factors such as smoking and nutrition may thus offer opportunities for the prevention of AMD.
|Journal||Ophthalmic Research: journal for research in experimental and clinical ophthalmology|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Complement system
- Factor D