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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 12;108(28):E279-87. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100901108. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Anti-amyloid therapy protects against retinal pigmented epithelium damage and vision loss in a model of age-related macular degeneration.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Duke Eye Center, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of visual dysfunction worldwide. Amyloid β (Aβ) peptides, Aβ1-40 (Aβ40) and Aβ1-42 (Aβ42), have been implicated previously in the AMD disease process. Consistent with a pathogenic role for Aβ, we show here that a mouse model of AMD that invokes multiple factors that are known to modify AMD risk (aged human apolipoprotein E 4 targeted replacement mice on a high-fat, cholesterol-enriched diet) presents with Aβ-containing deposits basal to the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), histopathologic changes in the RPE, and a deficit in scotopic electroretinographic response, which is reflective of impaired visual function. Strikingly, these electroretinographic deficits are abrogated in a dose-dependent manner by systemic administration of an antibody targeting the C termini of Aβ40 and Aβ42. Concomitant reduction in the levels of Aβ and activated complement components in sub-RPE deposits and structural preservation of the RPE are associated with anti-Aβ40/42 antibody immunotherapy and visual protection. These observations are consistent with the reduction in amyloid plaques and improvement of cognitive function in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease treated with anti-Aβ antibodies. They also implicate Aβ in the pathogenesis of AMD and identify Aβ as a viable therapeutic target for its treatment.

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