Lab Publishes Model for Complement Injury in Macular Degeneration

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 14:15

In age-related macular degeneration, activation of the membrane attack complex (MAC) is deposited on the aging choriocapillaris endothelial cells (ECs). In a recent publication in the Journal of Pathology (Zeng et al., ) we demonstrated colocalization of MAC with choroidal ECs at the ultrastructural level. We also sought to determine whether we can model this injury in cultures of ECs exposed to MAC. We found that (1) ECs are susceptible to cell injury, loss of barrier function, and death and (2) surviving cells turn on a gene expression program that promotes angiogenesis including new synthesis of extracellular matrix degrading enzymes. This model can now be used to discover methods to protect choriocapillaris ECs from MAC injury.