Amelotin, a protein which deposits calcium in tooth enamel may also be responsible for the accumulation of calcium in the back of the eye in people with dry age-related macular degeneration. This evidence comes from research carried out at the National Eye Institute (NEI) and researchers are hopeful that these findings will identify a key therapeutic target for dry AMD, for which there are currently no treatments available.
Dry AMD, also known as Geographic Atrophy is characterised by the gradual, progressive loss of photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), and underlying choriocapillaries, resulting in blind spots, reduced contrast sensitivity and distorted vision. Drusen is also a prominent feature of dry AMD and occurs when yellow deposits, composed of many minerals and substances, including cholesterol, lipids, protein and calcium form under the retina.
This research into dry AMD is very promising and poses a new and alternative approach to treating dry AMD which was not previously considered. “Conceptually, you could see coming up with drugs that specifically block the function of amelotin in eye, and this might delay the progression of the disease” said Graeme Wistow, Ph.D., chief of the NEI Section on Molecular Structure and Functional Genomics, and senior author of the study.
Follow-up research by the NEI is underway and mouse models of the disease are being created to further study amelotin and be used for drug screening.
The full article is available to read on the National Institute of Health website: