Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have found that a particular set of metabolites in the blood are good markers for diagnosing AMD as well as indicating the severity of Macular Degeneration
Metabolites, or breakdown products, are a result of both genes and environment.¬†The "metabolome" -- the set of metabolites present in an individual -- is thought to closely represent the true functional state of complex diseases.
Researchers found that people with age-related macular degeneration had 87 metabolites that were notably different than people who did not have age-related macular degeneration (AMD).¬† In addition, the metabolites were different between patients with varying stages of AMD.
Of the 87 molecules identified through metabolomics in the study to be associated with AMD, most belonged in the lipid pathway. Previous research has suggested that lipids may be involved in the development of macular degeneration, although the exact role of lipids in the disease process remains unclear. The results from this study support this suggestion, as well as indicate that metabolomics profiling may provide novel insights into relationship between lipids and AMD.
Researchers believe that the study results show that profiling metabolites would allow doctors to diagnose macular degeneration at earlier stages and therefore allow them to personalize treatment for the patient.*