Protective inflammasome activation in AMD

Published on October 31, 2016   44 min
My name is Matthew Campbell. I'm based at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics in Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. And today, I'm going to talk about some research results that we have that suggest that aspects of the NLRP3 inflammasome may have a protective effect in the degenerative eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, or AMD for short.
AMD is a very prevalent cause of central retinal blindness. And to give you the perspective of AMD in a country the size of Ireland with a population of about 4.5 million, in this country, we have a prevalence of AMD at about 7.2%. So that's roughly aligned with the similar prevalence of AMD that's observed in Western Europe, and in the US where about 10% of individuals over the age of 50 present with AMD of some sort. In Ireland, over 1 million people are over the age of 50 years, and of that, over 70,000 people have some sort of AMD. So this is a very, very common form of blindness. The life expectancy for men in Ireland is approximately 78 years, and for women, it's 82 years. So again, this is very well aligned with figures in Western Europe and even the US. And interestingly, life expectancy has been going up by approximately six hours every day since 1900. And so it stands to reason that with a growing increase in the aging population, the cases of AMD are going to continue to rise, and this is going to present with a very major problem in the years ahead.