Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"

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Alterations in Bruch's Membrane and the Extracellular Matrix in the Development of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Aisenbrey S. 
Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University, Boston, USA

Changes in the structure of Bruch's membrane (BM) are key criteria in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, the exact pathomechanisms are not well understood. The coordinated expression of major extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, including collagens and laminins, appears to be critical for maintaining the integrity of Bruch's membrane. Laminins are widely expressed ECM molecules in the retina, form complexes with receptors including laminin-binding integrins, that play an important role in the adhesion, migration, and proliferation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The regulation of the ECM composition is mainly dependent on metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs); changes in this regulatory process influence the structural and functional properties of Bruch's membrane. Furthermore, metabolic insufficiencies, decline of transport capacities and modifications in the RPE-BM complex caused by oxidative stress contribute significantly to the degenerative process. Much progress has been made towards understanding how changes in the composition of ECM molecules and the ECM-RPE contact and signaling contribute to AMD related changes including RPE detachment and drusen formation. These data might also provide useful information for the development of new treatment strategies, e.g. in the field of cell transplantation. Additional data presented at the

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