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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among the elderly in the developed world. Whilst AMD is a multifactorial disease, the involvement of the complement system in its pathology is well documented, with single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in different complement genes representing an increased risk factor. With several complement inhibitors explored in clinical trials showing limited success, patients with AMD are still without a reliable treatment option. This indicates that there is still a gap of knowledge in the functional implications and manipulation of the complement system in AMD, hindering the progress towards translational treatments. Since the discovery of the CRISPR/Cas system and its development into a powerful genome engineering tool, the field of molecular biology has been revolutionised. Genetic variants in the complement system have long been associated with an increased risk of AMD, and a variety of haplotypes have been identified to be predisposing/protective, with variation in complement genes believed to be the trigger for dysregulation of the cascade leading to inflammation. AMD-haplotypes (SNPs) alter specific aspects of the activation and regulation of the complement cascade, providing valuable insights into the pathogenic mechanisms of AMD with important diagnostic and therapeutic implications. The effect of targeting these AMD-related SNPs on the regulation of the complement cascade has been poorly explored, and the CRISPR/Cas system provides an ideal tool with which to explore this avenue. Current research concentrates on the association events of specific AMD-related SNPs in complement genes without looking into the effect of targeting these SNPs and therefore influencing the complement system in AMD pathogenesis. This review will explore the current understanding of manipulating the complement system in AMD pathogenesis utilising the genomic manipulation powers of the CRISPR/Cas systems. A number of AMD-related SNPs in different complement factor genes will be explored, with a particular emphasis on factor H (CFH), factor B (CFB), and complement C3 (C3).

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Mol Sci

Publication Date





CRISPR, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), gene therapy, retina, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), Humans, Aged, Haplotypes, Complement Factor B, Macular Degeneration, Complement Activation, Risk Factors, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide