Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the developed world. To better understand the mechanisms of AMD to hopefully one day prevent and treat it, researchers in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Neurosciences have developed a unique method for analyzing oxidative damage in tiny amounts of DNA from the human eye. Results of the study were recently published in Scientific Reports.
Led by Irina Stepanov, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, the team used a highly sensitive method that can detect specific oxidative modifications in DNA. They used this method to analyze mitochondrial DNA from retinal pigment epithelium, a single cell layer from eye tissues, and compared results between samples that came from healthy eyes and those with age-related macular degeneration.