Oxidative damage and inflammation are postulated to be involved in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, the molecular signal(s) linking oxidation to inflammation in this late-onset disease is unknown. Here we describe AMD-like lesions in mice after immunization with mouse serum albumin adducted with carboxyethylpyrrole, a unique oxidation fragment of docosahexaenoic acid that has previously been found adducting proteins in drusen from AMD donor eye tissues and in plasma samples from individuals with AMD. Immunized mice develop antibodies to this hapten, fix complement component-3 in Bruch's membrane, accumulate drusen below the retinal pigment epithelium during aging, and develop lesions in the retinal pigment epithelium mimicking geographic atrophy, the blinding end-stage condition characteristic of the dry form of AMD. We hypothesize that these mice are sensitized to the generation of carboxyethylpyrrole adducts in the outer retina, where docosahexaenoic acid is abundant and conditions for oxidative damage are permissive. This new model provides a platform for dissecting the molecular pathology of oxidative damage in the outer retina and the immune response contributing to AMD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology