Macular Degeneration Research
Imran Bhutto, MD, PhD
Wilmer Eye Institute
Title: Inflammatory Cells In Choroid During Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Relationship to Retinal Pigmented Epithelium (RPE) Atrophy and Vascular Attenuation
Non-Technical Title: The Inflammatory Cells of the Choroid in Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Gerard A. Lutty, PhD
Johns Hopkins University/Wilmer Eye Institute
Duration: July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2016
Award Type: Standard
Award Amount: $120,000
Macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 15 million Americans. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs, affecting reading, driving, identifying faces, watching television, safely navigating stairs, and performing other daily tasks. The retinal pigment epithelium and choriocapillaris, the blood vessels that provide nutrition to the outer retina, die in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This study will document the inflammatory cells that lie in the choroid of the eye, a layer of blood vessels and connective tissue that lies below the retina, and how they may contribute to this death, if activated. Drugs already exist to control their activation, so this study could suggest new therapies for AMD.
The purpose of this study is to determine the population of inflammatory cells in choroid during AMD in relationship to retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) atrophy and vascular attenuation. The proposed study will identify, quantify, and characterize proinflammatory residents (mast cells, microglia) and immigrants (polymorphonuclear leukocytes [PMNs] and macrophages) in choroid during AMD. This is unknown and germane since inflammation and complement activation have been implicated in AMD already and the cell types assessed can contribute to these proinflammatory changes.
Imran Bhutto is a research associate in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his doctoral studies in the Department of Ophthalmology at Nagasaki University, Japan, and previously was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Gerard Lutty, PhD, at Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins. Dr. Bhutto is an expert in vascular biology of the retina and choroid and how these vasculatures change in diseases like diabetes and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). His current research focuses on the pathogenesis of AMD and the role of inflammation in AMD. He recently demonstrated that three inhibitors of blood vessel growth were decreased in Bruch’s membrane of AMD subjects, making it susceptible to choroidal neovascularization (CNV). His studies involve aged normal and AMD eyes, as well as animal models of CNV in mouse and rat models. Dr. Bhutto’s goal is to elucidate the cause of AMD so that he might develop therapies to prevent or/and subsequently reduce the morbidity associated with AMD. Prior to receiving this BrightFocus Foundation award, Dr. Bhutto received a grant from the Wilmer Professor Pool fund enabling him to generate preliminary studies that led to the design of experiments to be completed using the BrightFocus Foundation award.