PhotoRetouchjoshuaDunaief 186x207

Joshua L. Dunaief, MD, PhD

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible blindness, yet its pathogenesis is poorly understood. Evidence suggests that cumulative oxidative damage contributes to AMD and aging in general. Dr. Dunaief's lab has found that AMD retinas have iron overload, which can increase oxidative stress. Increased understanding of retinal iron homeostasis may lead to treatments for AMD. To investigate the mechanisms of retinal iron regulation, we use transgenic mouse models, human retinal tissue, and a dual chamber tissue culture system to study iron transport. A mouse line deficient in the iron transporting ferroxidases ceruloplasmin and hephaestin develops age-dependent retinal iron overload and retinal degeneration with features of AMD (Hahn et al., PNAS, 2004). Recent research suggests that iron plays a key role in apoptosis induced by a variety of insults. Further investigation of the mechanisms of retinal iron homeostasis and of iron induced apoptosis are the focus of the lab.