Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of significant and irreversible central visual loss as it affects a small area of the retina, called the macula. However, the pathogenesis of still fairly understood. AMD has a multifactorial etiology, and its development might be influenced by body peculiarities, environmental and genetic factors. Risk factors such as age, gender, cigarette smoking, color of iris, nutrition, body mass index, oxidative stress, and genetic factors (complement factor H gene, Apo E gene, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) genes and others) increase probability to develop AMD. Here, we discuss about choroidal neovascularization process, where hypoxia, inflammatory process, and proteolytic enzymes play a main role, but mainly we focus on the family of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), especially on MMP -2, -3 and -9, and their impact on AMD development. MMPs belong to a family of proteolytic zinc-containing enzymes, and their mechanism under normal physiological conditions is precisely regulated, but when is dysregulated, MMPs become a cause of various diseases, including and AMD. MMPs are capable of degrading most of the extracellular matrix components, which are important in the remodeling during angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the main pathological process associated with age-related macular degeneration development. Activated endothelial cells release MMPs which by degrading the basilar membrane allows capillaries to grow beneath the retina and retinal layers. Such capillaries often bleed, more liquids are filtered through the walls, and fibrous tissue grows within. Furthermore, swelling of the retina and impaired vision occur. In this book chapter, we focus on AMD prevalence, risk factors, clinics, diagnostics and influence of MMP-2, -3 and -9 on AMD development.
Part of the book: The Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase in Human Body Pathologies