Determining ways to modulate lutein levels in the eye

Qiuyun Chen, PhD
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Cleveland, OH)
Year Awarded:
2006
Grant Duration:
April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2009
Disease:
Macular Degeneration
Award Amount:
$200,000
Grant Reference ID:
M2006020
Award Type:
Standard
Award Region:
US Midwestern

Identification of Human Retinal Lutein Binding Proteins

Summary

These investigators will identify lutein binding proteins from human retina by searching for genes that when expressed will produce proteins that specifically bind lutein. Once the gene(s) are identified, we will determine what type of proteins they are and whether their distribution in the retina correlates with the lutein distribution pattern.

Details

The long-term goal of this project is to study the molecular basis for therapeutic manipulation of lutein levels in the retina in order to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) , the leading cause of incurable blindness in the western world. Lutein is one of the few carotenoids that are selectively accumulated in the human macula. Low concentrations of lutein in the retina have been found to correlate with a high risk of developing AMD. However, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the protective function of carotenoids are unresolved. One reason this problem persists is the lack of knowledge of how and why lutein is selectively accumulated in the macula. Our hypothesis is that specific binding proteins facilitate the transport and retention of lutein in the retina. To test this hypothesis, we will identify lutein binding proteins from human retina by searching for genes that when expressing will produce proteins that specifically bind lutein. Once the gene(s) are identified, we will determine what type of proteins they are and whether their distribution in the retina correlates with the lutein distribution pattern.
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