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Ruozhou Tom Liu, Jiangyuan Gao, Sijia Cao, Navroop Sandhu, Jing Z. Cui, Chai Lin Chou, Edward Fang, Joanne A. Matsubara; Inflammatory Mediators Induced by Amyloid-Beta in the Retina and RPE In Vivo: Implications for Inflammasome Activation in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(3):2225-2237. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10849.
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Drusen are hallmarks of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Amyloid-beta 1-40 (Aβ 1-40), a constituent of drusen, is known to stimulate inflammatory pathways in RPE; however, its effect in vivo is not known. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of Aβ 1-40 on cytokine expression and inflammasome activation relevant to AMD in an animal model.
Wild-type rats received intravitreal injections of Aβ 1-40, and eyes were taken at days 1, 4, 14, and 49 postinjection. The RPE, neuroretina, and vitreous were analyzed for cytokine expression, inflammasome activation, and microglial response via RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and suspension array assay. Retinal cell loss was assessed via apoptotic markers and retinal thickness.
Aβ 1-40 stimulated upregulation of IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-18, caspase-1, NLRP3, and XAF1 genes in the RPE/choroid and the neuroretina. Increased IL-1β and IL-6 immunoreactivity was found in retinal sections, and elevated levels of IL-1β and IL-18 were found in the vitreous of Aβ-injected eyes. Aβ 1-40 induced a moderate increase in CD11b/c-reactive cells on day 1 postinjection only. No evidence of the proapoptotic XAF1 protein, p53, TUNEL immunoreactivity, or retinal thinning was observed.
These results confirm earlier in vitro work and support the proinflammatory role of drusen component Aβ 1-40 in the RPE and retina. Inflammasome activation may be responsible for this effect in vivo. This model is useful for understanding cellular triggers of inflammasome activation and proposed early inflammatory events in the outer retina associated with the etiology of AMD.
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