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Experimental Ophthalmology

Neovascularisation in age-related macular degeneration

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More than 30% of elderly people in industrialized countries at the age of 75 or older suffer from age-related macular degeneration (Klein 2007) . The disease can lead to two final stages: the dry form and the wet form. Due to rapid loss of vision, the wet form accounts for 90 % cases of blindness in age-related macular degeneration.

The wet form is characterized by the development of new blood vessels sprouting from the choriocapillaris into Bruch’s membrane and later on into subretinal space (Campochiaro 2007) .   Due to the incomplete differentiation of these blood vessels, this results into intraocular bleeding and subsequent scar formation.

The retinal pigment epithelium represents the major source of growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) (Frank 1997) , which initiate the neovascularisation by induction of proliferation and migration of endothelial cells.

Thus, we are interested in the regulation of secretion rates by the retinal pigment epithelium. Interestingly, the RPE expresses many proteins which are known to regulate the secretion in many tissues specialized in secretion of hormones or growth factors (Wimmers, Karl et al. 2007) . With this knowledge, we investigate the mechanisms of intra- and extracellular signaling pathways which basically regulate the secretion (Rosenthal, Heimann et al. 2007) and how these pathways are changed in the case of increased secretion rates in age-related macular degeneration.

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Letzte Aktualisierung: 30.05.2012 | Online-Redaktion
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Beruf und Karriere
Universität Regensburg