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Rina Namba, Hiroki Kaneko, Ayana Suzumura, Hideyuki Shimizu, Keiko Kataoka, Kei Takayama, Kazuhisa Yamada, Yasuhito Funahashi, Seina Ito, Norie Nonobe, Hiroko Terasaki; In Vitro Epiretinal Membrane Model and Antibody Permeability: Relationship With Anti-VEGF Resistance in Diabetic Macular Edema. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(8):2942-2949. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-26788.
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Diabetic macular edema (DME) is characterized by an accumulation of fluid in the macula due to diabetic retinopathy. Currently, anti-VEGF drugs are the standard treatment worldwide for DME. This study aimed to assess whether the existence of epiretinal membrane (ERM) affects anti-VEGF efficacy, due to reduced permeability of the antibody through the ERM.
We retrospectively examined clinical data of DME patients who underwent anti-VEGF treatment and evaluated whether clinical differences existed between DME eyes with ERM and those without ERM. We then created an in vitro ERM model using MIO-M1, ARPE-19, and NTI-4 cells on Transwell membranes and evaluated antibody permeability through this in vitro ERM model using fluorescently labeled antibodies.
Central retinal thickness (CRT) change between before and 1 month after first anti-VEGF treatment, as well as final CRT and final visual acuity 12 months after first anti-VEGF treatment, significantly differed between DME eyes with ERM and those without ERM. The in vitro ERM model led to production of collagen I in a manner similar to that of human ERM specimens. Fluorescence intensity of the lower chamber of the in vitro ERM model was significantly reduced in a dose-dependent manner.
Clinical data analysis indicated that the existence of ERM in DME eyes lowered the efficacy of anti-VEGF treatment. Reduced antibody permeability through the in vitro ERM model suggested ERM presence was associated with resistance to anti-VEGF treatment in DME eyes with ERM.
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