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Centre de recherche
Saturday, February 2 2008

International research led by Ste.-Justine and Université de Montréal identify deficient receptor is that causes dry form of AMD

AMD discovery: New hope for treatment of vision loss

Scientists have won a major battle in the fight against age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a blinding eye disease that affects millions of people. An international team, led by researchers at Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Université de Montréal, have identified the deficient receptor that causes the dry form of AMD.

In the February edition of the medical journal Plos Medicine, the researchers explain how a deficiency of the CD36 receptor prevents the evacuation of oxidized lipids in the eye. Those oxidized lipids in turn accumulate and attack the layers beneath and over the retina - thereby causing vision loss.

"Our discovery has important implications for the development of new therapies," explains lead researcher, Dr. Sylvain Chemtob , who Sainte-Justine and Université de Montréal collaborators included Dr. Huy Ong, as well as Florian Sennlaub (who now works in France).

Chemtob, a neonatal researcher at Sainte-Justine Hospital and a professor at the Université de Montréal's Department of Pediatrics and School of Optometry, used mice and rat models to pinpoint the scavenger receptor responsible for retinal degeneration typical of dry AMD. "We found that a deficiency in CD36 receptors leads to significant and progressive age-related macular degeneration," he says. "CD36 deficiency leads to central vision loss - a key feature of dry AMD."

Wet and dry AMD remain an alarming cause of vision loss in the western world, which according to the AMD Alliance International, affect 30 million people aged 50 and over. Dry AMD is the most pervasive of the disorders and affects 90 percent of AMD cases.

More on dry AMD:
According to CNIB, a national charity committed to vision health, dry AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada and affects over one million people in this country. Dry AMD occurs when the layer of cells beneath the retina begin to age and thin, affecting the overlying retina, which gradually dulls and blurs central vision. Dry AMD can also cause little or no symptoms until it the disease more advanced. As AMD gets worse, a person may see a blurred or blank spot in the centre of vision or notice a gradual decline in their ability to see fine print. People with dry AMD may have difficulty recognizing faces or may need more light for reading and other tasks. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, yet vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected.

AMD on the Web:

For information

Nicole Saint-Pierre
Conseillère en communication
CHU Sainte-Justine
514-345-4931, poste 2555

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
Attaché de presse International
Université de Montréal

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Updated on 11/20/2014
Created on 11/20/2014
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