Virus linked to macular degeneration

May 28, 2012

US scientists have found that a type of herpes-virus infection of the eye is associated with age-related macular degeneration, a disease that causes blindness in the elderly.

The findings, appearing inPLoS Pathogens, indicate that human cytomegalovirus causes the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a signal protein that regulates the formation of new blood vessels. With the formation of these new blood vessels, retinal tissue destruction occurs, leading to the development of age-related macular degeneration and eventually, blindness.

“Prior to this work, cofactors for the development of AMD [age-related macular degeneration] included genetics, a high fat diet and smoking. Now, we are adding an infections agent as another cofactor,” said immunologist Richard D. Dix, from the Georgia State University Viral Immunology Center.

For more info: http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20120421185312data_trunc_sys.shtml

 

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