Immune Cell Traps in Inflammation and Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Immune cells called neutrophils can set "traps" outside the cell to capture invasive pathogens, which neutrophils then destroy without damaging other body cells. In wet, or neovascular, age-related macular degeneration, these traps may trigger an exaggerated inflammatory response that leads to tissue damage.
Matthew Rutar, PhD, and his colleagues hypothesize that reactive traps are responsible for triggering this damage and represent a target for treatment. To explore the role of neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs, in neovascular age-related macular degeneration, the researchers plan to use lab models and donor tissues. They also will test inhibitors of NET activity using these tools.
The candidate inhibitors are first-generation drugs. If the drugs prove effective, Dr. Rutar and his colleagues will have confirmed that NET inhibition could dampen inflammatory damage in age-related macular degeneration. Current therapies are focused on limiting rogue growth of blood vessels, so identifying new targets related to inflammation offers new opportunities for treatment.