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Too much immune response responsible for macular degeneration damage.

Australian researchers have discovered that light-damaged eyes cause an over-reactive immune response which results in white blood cells entering the retina and depositing proteins that kill light sensitive vision cells. This immune response occurs in macular degeneration. Details of this study are published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science Journal and were presented at the recent ARVO conference. In macular degeneration, these white blood cells, or macrophages, attack vision cells located in the back of the eye. When the retina is damaged by bright light, production of the Ccl2 molecule increases which brings in the macrophages. The macrophages bring in C3 molecules which then attack the light-sensitive cells and kill them. The remains are then eaten by the macrophages. This identification of the Ccl2 opens up the possibilities of developing new treatments for the dry form of macular degeneration. Researchers will be able to identify ways to block Ccl2 which would prevent the macrophages from entering the retina and depositing the C3 molecules. Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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