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Exp Mol Pathol. 2012 Feb;92(1):64-73. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2011.09.017. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Serum autoantibody biomarkers for age-related macular degeneration and possible regulators of neovascularization.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in industrial counties. Its pathogenesis is at least partially mediated by immunological factors, including a possible autoimmune response. To date, only a few antibodies have been identified in sera from patients with AMD. In order to reveal an autoantibody profile for AMD and identify biomarkers for progression of this disease, we have performed an antigen microarray analysis of serum samples from patients with AMD and healthy controls. Sera from the AMD groups contained high levels of IgG and IgM autoantibodies to some systemic antigens when compared to the normal group. Targeted antigens included cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase, phosphatidylserine (PS) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen. The IgG/IgM ratio for antibodies to PS was notably elevated in the AMD group compared to the normal group, and this ratio correlated best with the stage of AMD patients with an anti-PS ratio greater than the cut-off value had a 44-fold risk for advanced AMD with choroidal neovascularization. PS immunoreactivity was also elevated in AMD retina. Moreover, IgG autoantibodies purified from sera of AMD patients induced more tube formation on choroidal-retinal endothelial cells compared to those of healthy donors. Hence, sera from patients with AMD contain specific autoantibodies which may be used as biomarkers for AMD, and the IgG/M ratio for autoantibodies to PS might allow better monitoring of AMD progression.

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