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Clyde Guidry, Nancy E. Medeiros, Christine A. Curcio; Phenotypic Variation of Retinal Pigment Epithelium in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(1):267-273.
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purpose. To determine whether retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in eyes with
age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) express vimentin and α smooth
muscle actin (αSMA), two cytoskeletal proteins associated with
phenotypic variation in culture.
methods. Six eyes with late ARMD and three age-matched control eyes were
preserved in buffered 4% paraformaldehyde and cryosectioned at 10μ
m. Stages of RPE morphology and pigmentation were assessed by the
Alabama Age-Related Macular Degeneration Grading System. Vimentin,α
SMA, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression was
detected by indirect immunofluorescence. These results were compared
with regional variations in disease severity.
results. RPE changes in ARMD included acquired expression of vimentin, butα
SMA-positive cells were rare. GFAP expression increased in
Müller cells in the neural retina in association with RPE changes
and photoreceptor degeneration.
conclusions. The initial stages of RPE changes in eyes with ARMD mimic those
reported for cultured RPE cells. The absence of αSMA-positive cells
in regions of RPE atrophy suggests that RPE are lost rather than
persist in a dedifferentiated state.
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