Gene Expression Changes in Aging Retina
Dr. Bernstein has hypothesized that changes in gene expression in the aging retina can result in an inability of the retina and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) to respond to stress, and this increases one's susceptibility to age-related eye disease. In earlier studies, he found changes in the expression of stress-response genes that support this hypothesis. In this continuation of the study, he is attempting to identify genes that change their pattern of expression for both retina-specific genes and for genes that are expressed in several tissues, including the retina. The gene studies are being done in both humans and rhesus monkeys, since these monkeys share many retinal similarities with humans. Dr. Bernstein believes that genes that alter their expression with age in both species are likely to play important roles in age-related eye diseases. It is hoped that this information will help develop a genome map of candidate genes that will be made available to the research community to use in further gene-based studies of AMD.