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Progress and perspectives on the role of RPE cell inflammatory responses in the development of age-related macular degeneration

Authors Qin S, Rodrigues GA

Published 2 December 2008 Volume 2008:1 Pages 49—65


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Suofu Qin, Gerard A Rodrigues

Retinal Disease Research, Department of Biological Sciences, Allergan, Inc., Irvine, CA, USA

Abstract: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in developed countries. The etiology of AMD remains poorly understood and no treatment is currently available for the atrophic form of AMD. Atrophic AMD has been proposed to involve abnormalities of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which lies beneath the photoreceptor cells and normally provides critical metabolic support to these light-sensing cells. Cumulative oxidative stress and local inflammation are thought to represent pathological processes involved in the etiology of atrophic AMD. Studies of tissue culture and animal models reveal that oxidative stress-induced injury to the RPE results in a chronic inflammatory response, drusen formation, and RPE atrophy. RPE degeneration in turn causes a progressive degeneration of photoreceptors, leading to the irreversible loss of vision. This review describes some of the potential major molecular and cellular events contributing to RPE death and inflammatory responses. In addition, potential target areas for therapeutic intervention will be discussed and new experimental therapeutic strategies for atrophic AMD will be presented.

Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, danger signals, complement, inflammation, retinal pigment epithelial cells

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