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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Mar;47(3):1024-9.

Complement component 1Q (C1Q) upregulation in retina of murine, primate, and human glaucomatous eyes.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.



Complement has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether complement activation is part of the pathogenesis of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss in glaucoma.


mRNA and protein was extracted from the retina and brain of DBA/2 and C57/BL6 mice and subjected to RT-PCR and immunoblot analysis, respectively. In addition, eyes from the same mouse strains were subjected to immunohistochemistry with antibodies specific to complement component 1q (C1q). Eyes from monkeys with unilateral experimental glaucoma were also subjected to immunohistochemical analysis, as were eyes from human subjects with or without glaucoma.


C1q mRNA and C1q protein were found to be upregulated in the retina of glaucomatous DBA/2 mice. Upregulation of C1q preceded the time of extensive RGC death and increased with increasing age to 15 months in the retina, but not in the brain. No age-related C1q upregulation was detected in the reference mouse strain (C57BL/6), which develops significant nonglaucomatous RGC loss toward the end of the same time frame. C1q upregulation was also detected in laser-induced glaucomatous monkey eyes and in some (but not all) eyes of patients with glaucoma. C1q upregulation was localized to the Müller cells within the retina and in the area of the inner limiting membrane.


Complement expression is upregulated in the retina of two commonly used glaucoma models (in the DBA/2 mouse and the monkey) and in some human glaucomatous eyes. The timing of this upregulation suggests that complement activation plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of glaucoma.

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