LMRI Position on Serine and Glycine

A recent publication1 describing a very preliminary genetic association between MacTel type 2 and the amino acids, serine and glycine, has sparked interest in the patient, clinical and scientific MacTel communities. At LMRI we understand that, based on this article, people affected by MacTel type 2 are curious about these amino acids as a possible treatment and may have begun to take one or both of these amino acids as dietary supplements.

As scientists and health care providers, we do not recommend for or against taking one or both of these supplements for the following reasons:

  • We are not aware of any reliable information that taking an oral amino acid (such as serine or glycine) supplement will benefit any part of the eye affected by MacTel;
  • In addition to the lack of proven benefit, we are not aware of any reliable information on what dosage should be used if one were to take amino acid supplements;
  • It has been reported that a very small pilot study of MacTel type 2 patients found that some individuals, but not all, had low serine or glycine levels in the their blood after fasting;
  • Not all individuals with MacTel type 2 have the genetic changes that have been reported as linked to low serine/glycine levels.

There is little to no research reported on possible side effects in humans who take one or both of these supplements. The Lowy Medical Research Institute (LMRI), along with their collaborators around the world, is currently conducting research to follow up on these preliminary, but potentially promising, associations between low serine/glycine and MacTel type 2.

Please continue to monitor the LMRI website for new developments.  Please be aware that credible and thorough research takes time and, thus, more information may not be available in the near term.

LMRI will continue to post information regarding ongoing and planned clinical trials as well as progress in research. You can contact us for information on how to participate in any of these clinical trials (info@lmri.net).

LMRI is dedicated to the mission of determining the cause of, and treatments for, the cure and prevention of MacTel type 2.



1 Scerri TS, et al. Genome-wide analyses identify common variants associated with macular telangiectasia type 2. Nature Genetics 2017 April;49(4): 559-567.