Understanding the formulation and progression of age-related retinal degeneration and the link it has to inflammation may be a step closer, according to the results of a recent study.
The report was carried out by Dr Krzysztof Palczewski and colleagues at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.
They noted that disruption of cellular processes affected by multiple genes and accumulation of numerous insults throughout life dictate the progression of age-related disorders, but their complex etiology is poorly understood.
Post-mitotic neurons, such as photoreceptor cells in the retina, and the adjacent retinal pigmented epithelium that together maintain vision, are especially susceptible to age-related retinal degeneration (ARD).
Based on the fact that the multi-genic etiology of ARD in humans is reflected by the relative paucity of effective compounds for its early prevention and treatment, the experts set out to understand the background genetic differences that drive the phenotypic progression of ARD.
Dr Krzysztof Palczewski and colleagues at Case Western University in Cleveland studied a strain of mice that develop more pronounced ARD than other inbred mouse models, using state-of-the-art genetic analysis which identified several genetic changes that cause an increased predisposition to ARD in mice.
According to the experts, these insights may further improve our understanding of susceptible genetic loci that drive disease involved in age-associated disorders, including several human blinding diseases.
Further studies will now aim to establish a further line between age and vision loss, which the specialists hope may lead to new ways of combating a variety of eye conditions.
It comes after a recent study carried out by experts at Northwestern University in the US and published in the journal Ophthalmology showed that visual decline has reduced markedly over the past 25 years.
In 1984, 23 per cent of elderly adults had difficulty reading or seeing newspaper print because of poor eyesight, while in 2010, there was an age-adjusted 58 per cent decrease in this form of visual impairment, which points to both improved genetic resistance to sight-damaging conditions and greater eyecare.