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Joshua L. Dunaief; Iron Induced Oxidative Damage As a Potential Factor in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Cogan Lecture. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(11):4660-4664. doi: 10.1167/iovs.06-0568.
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Iron is a potent generator of oxidative damage whose levels increase with age, potentially exacerbating age-related diseases. Several lines of evidence suggest that iron accumulation may be a factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD retinas have more iron within the photoreceptors, RPE, and drusen than do age-matched control retinas. Accelerated AMD-like maculopathy develops in patients with retinal iron overload from the hereditary disease aceruloplasminemia. Mice with retinal iron overload resulting from knockout of ceruloplasmin and its homologue hephaestin exhibit retinal degeneration with some features of AMD, including subretinal neovascularization, accumulation of RPE lipofuscin and sub-RPE deposits, and RPE/photoreceptor death. Increased understanding of the mechanisms of retinal iron homeostasis may help in the development of therapies to prevent iron overload. For example, herein it is shown that one regulator of systemic iron homeostasis, HFE, is expressed in the RPE. Thus, patients with the common disease hereditary hemochromatosis, which is often caused by an HFE mutation, may have retinal iron overload predisposing to AMD. Preliminary data suggest that iron chelation can reduce RPE iron overload in mice and protect them from degeneration, suggesting that iron-binding drugs may one day prove useful in reducing RPE oxidative stress and decreasing the risk of AMD progression.
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