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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 435607, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/435607
Review Article

Mechanism of Inflammation in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: An Up-to-Date on Genetic Landmarks

1Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, Ophthalmology Unit, University of Ferrara, Corso Giovecca 203, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
2Department of Ophthalmology, Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Milan, Italy
3Department of Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy
4Department of Ophthalmology, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
5Center for Retinitis Pigmentosa of Veneto Region, ULSS 15 Alta Padovana, Camposampiero, Italy
6Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, Medical Genetic Unit, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Received 23 July 2013; Accepted 28 September 2013

Academic Editor: John Christoforidis

Copyright © 2013 Francesco Parmeggiani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible visual impairment among people over 50 years of age, accounting for up to 50% of all cases of legal blindness in Western countries. Although the aging represents the main determinant of AMD, it must be considered a multifaceted disease caused by interactions among environmental risk factors and genetic backgrounds. Mounting evidence and/or arguments document the crucial role of inflammation and immune-mediated processes in the pathogenesis of AMD. Proinflammatory effects secondary to chronic inflammation (e.g., alternative complement activation) and heterogeneous types of oxidative stress (e.g., impaired cholesterol homeostasis) can result in degenerative damages at the level of crucial macular structures, that is photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, and Bruch’s membrane. In the most recent years, the association of AMD with genes, directly or indirectly, involved in immunoinflammatory pathways is increasingly becoming an essential core for AMD knowledge. Starting from the key basic-research notions detectable at the root of AMD pathogenesis, the present up-to-date paper reviews the best-known and/or the most attractive genetic findings linked to the mechanisms of inflammation of this complex disease.