Once thought to worsen the progression of degenerative eye diseases, the complement system has recently been shown to slow the damage caused by the incurable disease in recent rat studies.
Retinitis pigmentosa, or RP for short, is a rare genetic disease that causes permanent blindness. The complement system is a part of the immune system that helps the body eliminate damaged cells, promoting inflammation and attacks pathogens. In previous case studies, this system worsened the irreversible damage caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Though this is potentially great news for those with and studying RP, further studies will need to be conducted to determine all the effects, both positive and negative, on the photoreceptors in the retina. While it is exciting to see any sort of promising information on RP, which causes blindness in children and adults, it is important to remember that the complement system has been found to make the damage of AMD worse.
NIH/National Eye Institute. (2019, June 17). Immune system can slow degenerative eye disease: Complement system appears to be double-edged sword depending on the eye disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190617100939.htm