A protein released by the complement factor H (CFH) gene has been thought to be responsible for protecting the retina from inflammation leading to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Scientists from the University of Manchester have, however, now discovered that the protein factor H is not the main regulator of immunity. Instead, it is a different protein called factor H-like protein 1 (FHL-1) that is made from the same CFH gene. Their results were published in the October 2014 Journal of Immunology.
Lead researcher Dr. Simon Clark commented that FHL-1, because it is smaller than FH, can get into parts of the retina which cannot be reached by the larger FH. It is, therefore, FHL-1, rather than FH, which protects the back of the eye from inflammation. And insufficient FHL-1 may result in inflammation that eventually results in vision loss from AMD. This work has identified a new target for therapeutics in the ongoing effort to slow or prevent AMD.
Source: University of Manchester News