New research from scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has found that tiny lumps of calcium phosphate may be an important triggering factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a degenerative eye disease that can cause severe vision loss and blindness. This is the first time these mineral deposits have been implicated in the disease, which affects more than 10 million Americans. The article appeared in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This is an image of HAP deposits, surrounded by fat and protein. The HAP is pink, while the surrounding material is green.
Scientists from several institutions made key contributions to the study and are also co-authors, including Drs. Jacob G. Bundy, Emrys A. Jones, David S. McPhail, and Sarah Fearn (Imperial College London, UK); Elöd Körtvély, Karsten Boldt, and Marius Ueffing (Universitatsklinikum, Tübingen, Germany); Jane M. Flinn (George Mason University, Fairfax, VA); Antonio Lanzirotti (The University of Chicago, IL); and Valentia Reffatto, Savanjeet Guy Singh Ratu, Laurenz Pauleikhoff, and Alan C. Bird (University College London, UK). Funding and support was also provided by the Moorfields Eye Hospital Special Trustees, the Mercer Fund from Fight for Sight, the Engineering and Physical Sciences and Natural Environment Research Councils, in the UK, and the US Department of Energy, Office of Science.