Age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) is the leading cause of adult vision loss in developed countries and accounts for more than 50% of blindness in the United States. AMD gradually destroys the macula, which is a tiny part of retina responsible for sharp and central vision.

A recent study tried to learn more about the molecular basis of the wet AMD by using proteomics tools to identify proteins involved in the progression of AMD. Identifying those proteins might lead to new targets for drug therapy.

In this study the protein content of samples from the aqueous humour (AH), the watery liquid that fills the space between the cornea and the lens, of six patients with wet AMD were pooled, analyses and compared with that from non AMD cataract patients

A proteomic analysis of the AH composition from wet AMD patients was conducted to identify AH proteins with altered expression in wet AMD compared with non-AMD patients with cataracts.

The study showed that AH protein composition was significantly different
between wet AMD and non-AMD patients.

Out of 78 proteins analyses, 68 of them were differently expressed in the wet AMD group and controls.

Numerous proteins identified in this study such as α-crystallin A and B chains, chemokines, complement factor I and an isoform of serum albumin are implicated in wet AMD.

These proteins may be potential biomarkers of wet AMD development and might play a role in the mechanisms of wet AMD.

Functions of most of the altered proteins were found to be associated with angiogenesis, oxidative stress, apoptosis, cell division, tumorigenesis and immunomodulation.

Identification of these proteins provides the opportunity for discovery and development of and new drugs targeting these specific proteins. This is one small step forward for development of drugs that can help delay r slow down the progression of the wet AMD in patients before complete loss of visual function happens.
Yao J, Liu X, Yang Q, Zhuang M, Wang F, Chen X, Hang H, Zhang W, Liu Q.
Proteomic analysis of the aqueous humor in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2013 Feb 18. doi: 10.1002/prca.201200012.

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