Link between HF1 and AMD grows

Pursuit of genetic factors involved in a leading cause of blindness points to complement pathway

David Secko(dsecko@the-scientist.com)
May 1, 2005

For the fourth time, variants of the complement Factor H gene (HF1/CFH) have been linked to the likelihood of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), researchers report in the early edition of PNAS this week.

This latest link comes on the heels of three independent reports that connected HF1 to AMD, all of which appeared together in Science Express over a month ago. HF1 is well known to be the major inhibitor of alternative complement pathway, which is an early line of defense against microbial infection. Together, the results now squarely point the finger at the complement pathway's involvement in the development of AMD.

"Gregory Hageman had a theory that inflammation was involved in AMD, but nobody really believed him, including me," said Rando Allikmets, from Columbia University and senior author of the PNAS study. But with the recent flurry of research, it now appears that Hageman was right, said...

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