Modified Vitamin A and Prevention of Macular Degeneration
Vitamin A is a very important vitamin for the visual process. It is absorbed from the blood and stored in the eye. It undergoes several chemical reactions inside the eye. Sometimes, during these chemical reactions, two molecules of Vitamin A will combined together to form Vitamin A dimers. These Dimers also associated with insoluble pigmented granules that are called lipofuscin granules.
Formation and deposition of these Dimers and lipofuscin granules were found in high concentration in elderly, Age Related macular degeneration and certain type of hereditary macular degeneration such as Stargardt macular dystrophy.
A team of researchers led by Ilyas Washington, a professor in the department of ophthalmology at Columbia's Harkness Eye Institute, decided to find away to prevent the formation of these Vitamin A dimers by modifying the chemical reactions that involve Vitamin A.
A modified Vitamin A medication with low ability to dimerization was given to healthy mice. The formation of dimers in these mice was reduced. They also found that this modified Vitamin A drug was acting as a normal Vitamin A in all chemical process.
They used this modified medication on mice with a defect similar to Stargardt macular dystrophy and the results were less Vitamin A dimers with overall improvement in vision.
This new discovery can attract more studies to form a medication that can help to prevent or reduce the incidence of macular degeneration and its complications on vision.