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Ping Yang, Nikolai P. Skiba, Grace M. Tewkesbury, Victoria M. Treboschi, Peter Baciu, Glenn J. Jaffe; Complement-Mediated Regulation of Apolipoprotein E in Cultured Human RPE Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(7):3073-3085. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-20083.
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Purpose. Complement activation is implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) and complement activation products such as membrane attack complex (MAC) are present in eyes of individuals with AMD. Herein, we investigated the effect of complement activation on induction of ApoE accumulation in human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells.
Methods. Cultured human RPE cells were primed with a complement-fixing antibody followed by treatment with C1q-depleted (C1q-Dep) human serum to elicit alternative pathway complement activation. Controls included anti-C5 antibody-treated serum and heat-inactivated C1q-Dep. Total protein was determined on RPE cell extracts, conditioned media, and extracellular matrix (ECM) by Western blot. ApoE and MAC colocalization was assessed on cultured RPE cells and human eyes by immunofluorescent stain. ApoE mRNA expression was evaluated by quantitative PCR (qPCR).
Results. Complement challenge upregulated cell-associated ApoE, but not apolipoprotein A1. ApoE accumulation was blocked by anti-C5 antibody and enhanced by repetitive complement challenge. ApoE mRNA levels were not affected by complement challenge. ApoE was frequently colocalized with MAC in complement-treated cells and drusen from human eyes. ApoE was released into complement-treated conditioned media after a single complement challenge and accumulated on ECM after repetitive complement challenge.
Conclusions. Complement challenge induces time-dependent ApoE accumulation in RPE cells. An understanding of the mechanisms by which complement affects RPE ApoE accumulation may help to better explain drusen composition, and provide insights into potential therapeutic targets.
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