The Aging Retina, Diabetic Retinopathy and AMD

In its various manifestations, ocular vaso-proliferative diseases account for the most common causes of vision loss in the industrial world1. For example, the leading blinding diseases in working age and pediatric populations stem from retinal neovascularization in conditions such as proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and those secondary to retinal vein occlusion with PDR affecting the greatest number of individuals2. Similarly, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its neovascular “wet” form is the leading cause of vision loss among adults above the age of 60. It is currently estimated that over 1 million Canadians (~10 million Americans) suffer from various forms of AMD and 500 000 (4.1 million Americans) are afflicted by diabetic retinopathy2-4. It is predicted that the incidence of both conditions will double over the next 15 years. Together, these prominent causes of morbidity present direct financial burdens of over 10 billion dollars in direct annual medical costs in the USA and account for significant loss of productivity5. Deciphering the cellular and molecular mechanism that predispose to and promote these diseases is the primary focus of our lab.

Our lab uses mouse models in conjunction with patient samples to investigate:

1-Mechanisms that drive accelerated cellular aging (cellular senescence) in retinopathies and AMD.

2- Novel causes of pathological vascular permeability in diabetes and AMD.

3- Strategies for vascular regeneration in diabetic retinopathy.

4- Neurovascular and neuroimmune communction in retinal development and disease.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Sapieha, P. et al. Proliferative retinopathies: Angiogenesis that blinds. Int J Biochem Cell Biol (2009).
  2. Kempen, J.H. et al. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among adults in the United States. Arch Ophthalmol 122, 552-563 (2004).
  3. Friedman, D.S. et al. Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in the United States. Arch Ophthalmol 122, 564-572 (2004).
  4. Maberley, D.A. et al. The prevalence of low vision and blindness in Canada. Eye (Lond) 20, 341-346 (2006).
  5. Rein, D.B. et al. The economic burden of major adult visual disorders in the United States. Arch Ophthalmol 124, 1754-1760 (2006).