New study finds Zinc supplements may help prevent age related macular degeneration

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — A study conducted by an international team of researchers shows that oral zinc supplements may cause gene expression changes in the eye that could prevent age related macular degeneration. The research was presented this week at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

To carry out the study, Investigators gave supplemental water to three groups of 10-month old female rats, isolating RNA in one eye. According to the researchers, the use of aged animals for an extended period of time closely mimics the use of zinc supplementation in age related macular degeneration.

Results showed that zinc affected 738 genes represented in the Ingenuity database. Among the high-scoring results were networks involved in oxidative satress, inflammatory response, DNA replication, recombination and repair. The top molecular and cellular functions that were affected by zinc supplementation were cell death, carbohydrate metabolism, small molecule biochemistry, cellular compromise and cell morphology.

The researchers stated, “This provides evidence that zinc can modify essential processes within the ocular tissue, the RPE cell layer in particular, to combat the major cause of blindness in the elderly.”

Abstract Title: Gene Expression Changes In Aged Rat Eyes Following Oral Zinc Supplementation
Presentation Start/End Time: Monday, May 2, 2011; 3:45 – 5:30pm
Location: Hall B/C
Session Number: 286

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from over 80 countries. ARVO encourages and assists research, training, publication and knowledge-sharing in vision and ophthalmology. For more information, visit

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the ARVO Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the conclusion of the presentation.

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