The role of vascular endothelial growth factor and other endogenous interplayers in age-related macular degeneration

Salvatore Grisanti*, Olcay Tatar

*Corresponding author for this work
117 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifaceted disease characterized by early subclinical changes at the choroidea-retinal pigment epithelium interface. Both the causal and formal pathogenesis of the disease is still puzzling. Similarly, the reason for progression into two distinct late forms which are "geographic atrophy" and "choroidal neovascularization" remains enigmatic. Late changes are usually responsible for the dramatic loss in central function that has a devastating effect on quality of life. In industrialized countries the disease is a major cause for visual disability among persons over 60 years of age. Due to demographic right-shift and increased life expectancy, AMD is not only a medical problem but will have a pronounced socio-economic effect. Neovascular AMD with the development of choroidal neovascularization in the macular area accounts for 80% of the severe loss of visual acuity due to AMD. In the last decades, treatment modes were merely based on the destruction or surgical removal of the neovascular complex. In the present, however, the philosophical approach to treat the disease is changing to a pathology modifying manner. Intelligent targeting of the involved relevant factors and pathways should stop disease progression, reduce complications and improve vision. The first step into this new era has been accomplished with the introduction of antiangiogenic agents. The new agents act either directly on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or indirectly on its functional cascade. VEGF makes a fundamental contribution to neovascular processes but it also acts in physiological pathways. The main purpose of this review is to summarize its physiological role especially within the eye, the role in the development of AMD and to understand and foresee both the benefits and potential side-effects of the anti-VEGF-based therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)372-390
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2008


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