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Ageing immune cells increase AMD risk

New research suggests that as immune cells mature, they are more likely to contribute to inflammation and abnormal blood vessel growth

11 Apr 2018 by Selina Powell

Researchers have connected ageing immune cells with an elevated risk of age-related macular degeneration in a new study published in JCI Insight. 

Through studies in mice and patient cells, scientists from Washington University of School of Medicine found that as immune cells age they are more likely to contribute to the inflammation and abnormal blood vessel growth.

The research team found that older microphages (a type of immune cell) carry larger amounts of short snippets of genetic material, called microRNAs.

Older mice had higher levels of microRNA-150, which was determined to guide the older macrophages towards promoting inflammation and abnormal blood vessel formation.

Doctoral student and study author, Jonathan Lin, confirmed that researchers have identified microRNA-150 as a potential therapeutic target, or at least a biomarker for aggressive disease and risk of vision loss. 

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