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Bärbel Rohrer, Qin Long, Beth Coughlin, R. Brooks Wilson, Yuxiang Huang, Fei Qiao, Peter H. Tang, Kannan Kunchithapautham, Gary S. Gilkeson, Stephen Tomlinson; A Targeted Inhibitor of the Alternative Complement Pathway Reduces Angiogenesis in a Mouse Model of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(7):3056-3064. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2222.
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purpose. Polymorphisms in factor H (fH), an inhibitor of the alternative pathway (AP) of complement activation, are associated with increased risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The authors investigated the therapeutic use of a novel recombinant form of fH, CR2-fH, which is targeted to sites of complement activation, in mouse choroidal neovascularization (CNV). CR2-fH consists of the N terminus of mouse fH, which contains the AP-inhibitory domain, linked to a complement receptor 2 (CR2) targeting fragment that binds complement activation products.
methods. Laser-induced CNV was analyzed in factor-B–deficient mice or in mice treated with CR2-fH, soluble CR2 (targeting domain), or PBS. CNV progression was analyzed by molecular, histologic, and electrophysiological readouts.
results. Intravenously administered CR2-fH reduced CNV size, preserved retina function, and abrogated the injury-associated expression of C3 and VEGF mRNA. CR2 and PBS treatment was without effect. In therapeutically relevant paradigms involving delayed treatment after injury, CR2-fH was effective in reducing CNV and provided approximately 60% of the amount of protection of that seen in factor B–deficient mice that lacked functional AP. After intravenous injection, CR2-fH localized to sites of C3 deposition in RPE-choroid.
conclusions. Specific inhibition of the AP reduces angiogenesis in mouse CNV. Of note, intravenous injection of C3d-targeted CR2-fH is protective even though endogenous fH is present in serum at a higher relative concentration, and serum fH contains native C3d and cell surface binding domains that target it to cell surfaces. The most common AMD-associated variant of fH resides within a native cell-binding region of fH (Tyr402His). These data may open new avenues for AMD treatment strategies.
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