Role of the Alzheimer's amyloid precursor in Macular Degeneration
Recent studies have made an exciting connection between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by identifying amyloid beta protein (Aß) deposits in drusen and showing that retinal cells are very sensitive to Aß toxicity. These studies suggest that Aß could play an important role in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Sambamurti is working to create a mouse model that overproduces Aß in the brain as well as in the retina in order to shed light on some of the pathology associated with age-related macular degeneration. His goal is to use this model to understand the effects of Aß on retinal function in general and on drusen formation in particular. He also hopes to identify risk factors for retinal degeneration and to evaluate the effects of known drug agents that might inhibit the biogenesis of Aß in the retina.