Immunity in retinas could prevent age-related macular degeneration

Controlling the level of an immune system component in the retinas of patients with dry AMD could prevent it progressing to the wet form of the disease, they said.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland looked at donor AMD eyes in tandem with preclinical studies on murine models of the disease. 

They specifically looked at drusen from donor eyes, as excessive amounts of drusen is a characteristic of AMD. 

Accumulation of drusen in the macula can lead to the production of inflammatory cytokines but one, IL-18, was found to be protective against development of wet AMD.

The discovery could lead to prospects for novel therapies, the researchers wrote.

Nature Medicine 2012; online 8 April