Researchers at Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Universite de Montreal have identified the deficient receptor that causes the dry form of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a blinding eye disease that affects millions of people.
The team of researchers led by Dr. Sylvain Chemtob, a neonatal researcher at Sainte-Justine Hospital and a professor at the Universite de Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and School of Optometry, explained that a deficiency of the CD36 receptor prevents the evacuation of oxidized lipids in the eye.
Later, these oxidized lipids 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," explained Chemtob.
In the study the researchers used mice and rat models to locate 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. CD36 deficiency leads to central vision loss - a key feature of dry AMD," said Chemtob
"This discovery brings us one step closer to treating dry AMD, which could significantly improve the quality of life of seniors who are most affected by this eye diseaseNow that we have also developed the molecules that activate CD 36 receptor, we are working on the validation of the efficacy of these molecules as potential therapeutic agents for dry AMD treatment with prospect at the horizon of 2015," added co-author Dr. Huy Ong.
Wet and dry AMD is widely responsible to 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.
The study is published in the latest edition of the medical journal PLoS Medicine.