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From the Archives Journals |

The Complexity of Animal Model Generation for Complex DiseasesANIMAL MODEL GENERATION FOR COMPLEX DISEASES

Peter A. Campochiaro, MD
JAMA. 2010;303(7):657-658. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.142.
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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of severe vision loss in older persons. Patients with AMD develop thickening of the Bruch membrane, which is a sheet of connective tissue that separates the retinal pigmented epithelium and retina from the highly vascular choroid. Deposits form along the Bruch membrane called drusen, and gradual degeneration occurs of the retina and the retinal pigmented epithelium. These features are similar to those that occur in some other neurodegenerative diseases and can lead to gradual loss of central vision. Approximately 10% to 20% of patients also develop neovascular AMD, in which abnormal blood vessels from the choroid grow through the Bruch membrane (choroidal neovascularization; CNV), resulting in sudden and severe reversible vision loss from collection of fluid beneath and within the retina and eventual permanent vision loss from scarring. Exactly how and why this complex phenotype develops in some elderly individuals and not others is a mystery. Modeling the disease in animals may help to solve the mystery, but it is a difficult task.

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