Drs. Chucair-Elliott and Freeman have received a new award from the National Eye Institute. Aging is the principal risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the irreversible loss of vision. Atrophy of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) layer is an AMD hallmark that precedes photoreceptor cell loss. However, the mechanisms underlying RPE impairment with aging and exacerbation by poor diet are unclear. Epigenetic processes (DNA modifications and chromatin accessibility) in the RPE may play a central mechanistic role in the pathogenesis and progression of AMD. These studies will examined changes in RPE mC/hmC and chromatin accessibility patterns with aging, RPE-specific differential changes in the translatome, and interrogate the potential of Western and ketogenic dietary patterns, in combination with impaired oxidative stress resolution pathways, to exacerbate or ameliorate changes in the RPE epigenome and gene expression profiles.

New NIH grant to study mechanisms of eye aging

Drs. Chucair-Elliott and Freeman have received a new award from the National Eye Institute. Aging is the principal risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the irreversible loss of vision. Atrophy of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) layer is an AMD hallmark that precedes photoreceptor cell loss. However, the mechanisms underlying RPE impairment with aging and exacerbation by poor diet are unclear. Epigenetic processes (DNA modifications and chromatin accessibility) in the RPE may play a central mechanistic role in the pathogenesis and progression of AMD. These studies will examined changes in RPE mC/hmC and chromatin accessibility patterns with aging, RPE-specific differential changes in the translatome, and interrogate the potential of Western and ketogenic dietary patterns, in combination with impaired oxidative stress resolution pathways, to exacerbate or ameliorate changes in the RPE epigenome and gene expression profiles.

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