Researchers report that a change in the C3 gene, which plays a role in inflammation and in the body’s immune response, also contributes to macular degeneration.
After sequencing DNA from 10 regions of the genome that had been previously linked to AMD in previous genetic studies, the researchers turned up two gene variants: one in the C3 complement gene, and an alteration that had been identified in previous studies of macular degeneration. The two gene variants together contribute to a three-fold increased risk for macular degeneration by interfering with inactivation of inflammation in the retina.
The study was carried about by an international team at The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor. The results were published online Sept. 15 in the journal Nature Genetics.