May 16, 2007

Human retinal pigment epithelium cell changes and expression of alphaB-crystallin: a biomarker for retinal pigment epithelium cell change in age-related macular degeneration

Archives of Ophthalmology
Soma DeJeffrey H Stern


To examine changes in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and specifically to characterize alphaB-crystallin expression in RPE cells as a biomarker in this disease. Maculae from human patients diagnosed as having AMD or from age-matched control eyes were isolated, cryosectioned, and analyzed immunohistochemically for alphaB-crystallin and for cell type-specific markers. In eyes with dry and wet AMD, alphaB-crystallin was heterogeneously expressed by a subpopulation of RPE cells in the macular region (frequently in cells adjacent to drusen) and in areas of RPE hypertrophy associated with wet AMD. In contrast, alphaB-crystallin was not detected at significant levels in control RPE. Accompanying the formation of drusen in early-stage and late-stage AMD, RPE cells undergo change to express alphaB-crystallin. The detection of alphaB-crystallin in the RPE of patients with early and advanced AMD implicates this as an AMD biomarker. Sporadic expression of alphaB-crystallin by RPE cells localized adjacent to drusen in early AMD indicates that changes in the gene expression of RPE cells accompany early stages of the disease and introduces novel potential targets for AMD therapy.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Alpha-Crystallin B Chain
Pigment Epithelium of Eye
Indirect Immunofluorescence
Choroidal Neovascularization
Gene Expression
Structure of Retinal Pigment Epithelium
Cell Type

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