Researchers led by UCSD's Kang Zhang report that they found a genetic link between the dry form of macular degeneration and a functional variant of the toll-like receptor 3 gene, an immune system gene that triggers apoptosis in response to dsRNA. In their upcoming New England Journal of Medicine article, they say that increased tlr3 activity due to viral dsRNA could lead to more cell death and macular degeneration. "But if they are too sensitive towards viral insults, they might kill cells a little too eagerly, and that might be a predisposing factor that leads to macular degeneration," says Johns Hopkins's Nico Katsanis who was an author on the study in MIT's Tech Review.
Viruses and Macular Degeneration
Aug 28, 2008