Early Life Obesity in Mice Predisposes to Age-Related Macular Degeneration Later in Life

Even after weight loss, obesity can lead to inflammation in the body.

Researchers from multiple Canadian institutions have found that obesity can cause inflammation in mice even when they are no longer obese. The group published a paper in the journal Science that describes their study of early-life obesity in test mice, and how it relates to the development age-related macula degeneration. Kevin Mangum, Katherine Gallagher and the University of Michigan published a Perspectives article in the same issue of the journal outlining their research.

The age-related macular (AMD), which occurs in older adults, can cause permanent blindness. Obesity has been shown to play a significant role in the development of AMD. AMD has been shown to be a neuroinflammatory disorder in other research. The inflammation of the eyes may be related to obesity. However, the exact link has yet to be identified. Researchers studied obesity and macular deterioration in mice to try and find a connection.

Researchers fed test mice high-fat food and studied the effect on macrophages in adipose tissues (types white blood cells which are part of immune system). The researchers found that obesity caused epigenetic changes to macrophages, which led to an increase in genes that induced an inflammatory response. The researchers also discovered that the expression increased even after the mice returned to normal weight by reducing their diet.


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