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S. C. Maloney, C. Martins, E. Antecka, P. Logan, D. Faingold, M. N. Burnier, Jr.; Expression of COX-2 in Choroidal Neovascular Membranes From Age Related Macular Degeneration Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):3018.
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Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) has been broadly investigated as a potential anti-angiogenic target in both neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases. COX-2 has previously been shown to modulate the expression of VEGF and its receptors, suggesting that anti-COX-2 strategies represent prospective adjunct therapies to currently established anti-VEGF modalities. Previous studies have investigated the efficacy of anti-COX-2 therapies in inhibiting choroidal neovascularization in animal models, but to date no study has examined COX-2 expression in human choroidal neovascular membranes. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible expression of COX-2 in human choroidal neovascular membranes.
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of choroidal neovascular membranes excised from 16 patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were used for this study. Sections were subjected to immunohistochemistry using a mouse anti-human monoclonal COX-2 antibody. Staining was classified as either negative or positive in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, endothelial cells of blood vessels, and fibroblasts.
Eleven of 16 choroidal neovascular membranes stained positive for COX-2 in RPE cells (69%), with six of these also expressing COX-2 in vessels (38%) and five demonstrating expression in fibroblasts (31%). None of the sections that were negative for COX-2 in the RPE showed COX-2 expression in the other structures.
The expression of COX-2 in human choroidal neovascular membranes suggests a possible role for this modulator in AMD pathogenesis. Specific targeting of COX-2 may represent a therapeutic approach to managing the inflammatory component of this disease. Moreover, anti-COX-2 strategies may prove to be beneficial in preventing disease progression in high-risk patients.
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