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Cholesterol-lowering eye drops may also fight macular degeneration

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A recent study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine took a look at how cholesterol deposits  in white blood cells known as macrophages can lead to age-related macular degeneration. Researchers examined cholesterol's role in the growth of ocular blood vessels. The research team studied macrophage samples from humans as well as mice with macular degeneration. What they discovered was that the study subjects had low levels of ABCA1, which is a protein that is needed to remove cholesterol from cells. Lacking the ability to move cholesterol out of the macrophages, blood vessels form in greater numbers with the end result being blindness. An eye drop containing two types of cholesterol regulators were administered to the mice. These drops helped to build the levels of ABCA1 and  in turn helped to lower cholesterol buildup in the macrophages. Pleased with these results, researchers noted these findings would be useful in research for treatments for other diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis.*

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