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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Aug 29;52(9):6832-41. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-7815.

The effect of photo-oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokine on complement factor H expression in retinal pigment epithelial cells.

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Institute of Clinical Medicine, School ofMedicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Genetic variation in complement factor H (CFH) has been implicated as a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The reduction in CFH amount or its complement-modulating activity may lead to inadequate control of complement-driven inflammation at the outer retina. We explored the effect of photo-oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokine on the expression of CFH in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells.


Cultured human RPE cells were exposed to blue light in the presence of interferon-γ (IFN-γ). CFH expression in cell lysate was examined by Western blot and the secretory CFH in culture medium was analyzed by ELISA. RPE cells were treated with vitamin C and exogenous superoxide dismutase mimetic (Tempol) before photo-oxidative treatments. The intracellular reactive oxygen species were examined by flow cytometry.


IFN-γ increased CFH expression in RPE and the expression was suppressed significantly under concomitant blue light illumination. The secretory CFH level also decreased significantly under blue light illumination, which was related to the decreased intracellular mRNA and protein expressions of CFH. The suppression was mediated through an oxidative mechanism, and was particularly related to superoxide anion generation. The suppression of CFH expression in RPE under blue light illumination was abrogated by vitamin C and Tempol.


Photo-oxidative stress reduces the ability of IFN-γ to increase CFH expression in RPE. Apart from reducing the oxidative damage, vitamin C reduces the suppression of CFH under photo-oxidative stress. These results suggest a new perspective of the interaction between oxidative stress and inflammation, and provide a potential novel treatment strategy for age-related macular degeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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