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Int J Mol Med. 2013 Jan;31(1):232-42. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2012.1164. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Retinal pigment epithelium, age-related macular degeneration and neurotrophic keratouveitis.

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  • 1Department of Sensory Organs, University of Rome, La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of impaired vision and blindness in the aging population. The aims of our studies were to identify qualitative and quantitative alterations in mitochondria in human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) from AMD patients and controls and to test the protective effects of pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a known neurotrophic and antiangiogenic substance, against neurotrophic keratouveitis. Histopathological alterations were studied by means of morphometry, light and electron microscopy. Unexpectedly, morphometric data showed that the RPE alterations noted in AMD may also develop in normal aging, 10-15 years later than appearing in AMD patients. Reduced tear secretion, corneal ulceration and leukocytic infiltration were found in capsaicin (CAP)-treated rats, but this effect was significantly attenuated by PEDF. These findings suggest that PEDF accelerated the recovery of tear secretion and also prevented neurotrophic keratouveitis and vitreoretinal inflammation. PEDF may have a clinical application in inflammatory and neovascular diseases of the eye.

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