Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Publications

Crowley MA, Garland DL, Sellner H, Banks A, Fan L, Rejtar T, Buchanan N, Delgado O, Xu YY, Jose S, Adams CM, Mogi M, Wang K, Bigelow CE, Poor S, Anderson K, Jaffee BD, Prasanna G, Grosskreutz C, Fernandez-Godino R, Pierce EA, Dryja TP, Liao S-M. Complement factor B is critical for sub-RPE deposit accumulation in a model of Doyne honeycomb retinal dystrophy with features of age-related macular degeneration. Hum Mol Genet 2023;32(2):204-217.Abstract
EFEMP1 R345W is a dominant mutation causing Doyne honeycomb retinal dystrophy/malattia leventinese (DHRD/ML), a rare blinding disease with clinical pathology similar to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Aged Efemp1  R345W/R345W knock-in mice (Efemp1ki/ki) develop microscopic deposits on the basal side of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE), an early feature in DHRD/ML and AMD. Here, we assessed the role of alternative complement pathway component factor B (FB) in the formation of these deposits. RNA-seq analysis of the posterior eyecups revealed increased unfolded protein response, decreased mitochondrial function in the neural retina (by 3 months of age) and increased inflammatory pathways in both neural retina and posterior eyecups (at 17 months of age) of Efemp1ki/ki mice compared with wild-type littermate controls. Proteomics analysis of eye lysates confirmed similar dysregulated pathways as detected by RNA-seq. Complement activation was increased in aged Efemp1ki/ki eyes with an approximately 2-fold elevation of complement breakdown products iC3b and Ba (P < 0.05). Deletion of the Cfb gene in female Efemp1ki/ki mice partially normalized the above dysregulated biological pathway changes and oral dosing of a small molecule FB inhibitor from 10 to 12 months of age reduced sub-RPE deposits by 65% (P = 0.029). In contrast, male Efemp1ki/ki mice had fewer sub-RPE deposits than age-matched females, no elevation of ocular complement activation and no effect of FB inhibition on sub-RPE deposits. The effects of FB deletion or inhibition on Efemp1ki/ki mice supports systemic inhibition of the alternative complement pathway as a potential treatment of dry AMD and DHRD/ML.
Fairbanks AM, Husain D. Controversies and Disparities in the Management of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Semin Ophthalmol 2023;:1-9.Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in patients aged 50 years and older. Prior to the 21st century, there were no effective treatments for this devastating disease. However, the last 20 years have heralded the development of treatments for both the nonexudative and exudative forms. The invention of AREDS vitamin supplements and anti-VEGF therapies forever changed the treatment of dry and wet age-related macular degeneration, respectively. The rapid adoption and expansion of these vision preserving treatments has created controversy regarding their cost, burden of administration, development, and use of new technologies, genetic considerations, and observed societal disparities. Many of these controversies and disparities persist today and will require further research to resolve.
Liu C-H, Yemanyi F, Bora K, Kushwah N, Blomfield AK, Kamenecka TM, SanGiovanni JP, Sun Y, Solt LA, Chen J. Genetic deficiency and pharmacological modulation of RORα regulate laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. Aging (Albany NY) 2023;15(1):37-52.Abstract
Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) causes acute vision loss in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Genetic variations of the nuclear receptor RAR-related orphan receptor alpha (RORα) have been linked with neovascular AMD, yet its specific role in pathological CNV development is not entirely clear. In this study, we showed that Rora was highly expressed in the mouse choroid compared with the retina, and genetic loss of RORα in Staggerer mice (Rorasg/sg) led to increased expression levels of Vegfr2 and Tnfa in the choroid and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) complex. In a mouse model of laser-induced CNV, RORα expression was highly increased in the choroidal/RPE complex post-laser, and loss of RORα in Rorasg/sg eyes significantly worsened CNV with increased lesion size and vascular leakage, associated with increased levels of VEGFR2 and TNFα proteins. Pharmacological inhibition of RORα also worsened CNV. In addition, both genetic deficiency and inhibition of RORα substantially increased vascular growth in isolated mouse choroidal explants ex vivo. RORα inhibition also promoted angiogenic function of human choroidal endothelial cell culture. Together, our results suggest that RORα negatively regulates pathological CNV development in part by modulating angiogenic response of the choroidal endothelium and inflammatory environment in the choroid/RPE complex.
Chaikitmongkol V, Ozimek M, Srisomboon T, Patikulsila D, Fraser-Bell S, Chhablani J, Choovuthayakorn J, Watanachai N, Kunavisarut P, Rodríguez-Valdés PJ, Lozano-Rechy D, Lupidi M, Al-Sheikh M, Fung AT, Busch C, Mehta H, Gabrielle P-H, Zur D, Ramon D, Sangkaew A, Ingviya T, Amphornprut A, Cebeci Z, Couturier A, Mendes TS, Giancipoli E, Iglicki M, Invernizzi A, Lains I, Rehak M, Sala-Puigdollers A, Okada M, Loewenstein A, Bressler NM. Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy Based on Non-ICGA Criteria in White Patients With Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol 2022;244:58-67.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine prevalence of probable polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) among White patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) using non-indocyanine green angiography (ICGA) criteria DESIGN: Multicenter, multinational, retrospective, cross-sectional study. METHODS: A total of 208 treatment-naive eyes from Hispanic and non-Hispanic White individuals diagnosed with nAMD were included. All underwent color fundus photography (CFP), optical coherence tomography (OCT), and fluorescein angiography (FFA). De-identified images of study eyes were sent to 2 groups of graders. Group 1 reviewed CFP, OCT, and FFA to confirm nAMD diagnosis. Group 2 reviewed CFP and OCT to determine highly suggestive features for PCV. Probable PCV diagnosis defined as the presence of ≥2 of 4 highly suggestive features for PCV: notched or fibrovascular pigment epithelial detachment (PED) on CFP, sharply-peaked PED, notched PED, and hyperreflective ring on OCT. RESULTS: Eleven eyes were excluded because of poor image quality (6) or non-nAMD diagnosis (5). Of 197 eligible eyes (197 patients), the mean age (SD) was 78.8 years (8.9), 44.2% were men, 26.4% were Hispanic, and 73.6% were non-Hispanic White individuals; 41.1%, 23.4%, 9.1%, and 2.5% had ≥1, ≥2, ≥3, and 4 highly suggestive features. Results showed that 23.4% (95% CI, 17.6%-29.9%) had probable PCV diagnosis. Predominantly occult CNV was more frequently found in probable PCV than nAMD subgroup (84.8% vs 64.9%, P = .01). Hispanic White individuals had a lower prevalence of probable PCV than non-Hispanic White individuals (9.6% vs 28.2%, P = .006) CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that probable PCV occurs between 17.6% and 29.9% in White individuals with nAMD, and more commonly in non-Hispanic than in Hispanic White individuals.
Lin JB, Murakami Y, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Neuroprotection for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmol Sci 2022;2(4):100192.Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Early to intermediate AMD is characterized by the accumulation of lipid- and protein-rich drusen. Late stages of the disease are characterized by the development of choroidal neovascularization, termed "exudative" or "neovascular AMD," or retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell and photoreceptor death, termed "geographic atrophy" (GA) in advanced nonexudative AMD. Although we have effective treatments for exudative AMD in the form of anti-VEGF agents, they have no role for patients with GA. Neuroprotection strategies have emerged as a possible way to slow photoreceptor degeneration and vision loss in patients with GA. These approaches include reduction of oxidative stress, modulation of the visual cycle, reduction of toxic molecules, inhibition of pathologic protein activity, prevention of cellular apoptosis or programmed necrosis (necroptosis), inhibition of inflammation, direct activation of neurotrophic factors, delivery of umbilical tissue-derived cells, and RPE replacement. Despite active investigation in this area and significant promise based on preclinical studies, many clinical studies have not yielded successful results. We discuss selected past and current neuroprotection trials for AMD, highlight the lessons learned from these past studies, and discuss our perspective regarding remaining questions that must be answered before neuroprotection can be successfully applied in the field of AMD research.
Lee D, Tomita Y, Negishi K, Kurihara T. Therapeutic roles of PPARα activation in ocular ischemic diseases. Histol Histopathol 2022;:18542.Abstract
Ocular ischemia is one of the leading causes of blindness. It is related to various ocular diseases and disorders, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and corneal injury. Ocular ischemia occurs due to an abnormal supply of oxygen and nutrients to the eye, resulting in ocular metabolic dysfunction. These changes can be linked with pathologic conditions in the eye, such as inflammation, neovascularization, and cell death, ultimately leading to vision loss. The current treatment care for ocular ischemia is limited. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) is a nuclear receptor protein functioning in regulating lipid metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, and glucose homeostasis. Recently, PPARα activation has been suggested as a useful therapeutic target in treating ocular ischemia. However, its applications have not been well summarized. In this review, we cover an overview of the therapeutic roles of PPARα activation in various ocular ischemic conditions with recent experimental evidence and further provide clinical implications of its therapeutic applications. Our review will enable more approaches to comprehensively understand the therapeutic roles of PPARα activation for preventing ocular ischemic diseases.
Bharti K, den Hollander AI, Lakkaraju A, Sinha D, Williams DS, Finnemann SC, Bowes-Rickman C, Malek G, D'Amore PA. Cell culture models to study retinal pigment epithelium-related pathogenesis in age-related macular degeneration. Exp Eye Res 2022;222:109170.Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula - the central part of the retina. It is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the elderly. AMD onset is marked by the presence of lipid- and protein-rich extracellular deposits beneath the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a monolayer of polarized, pigmented epithelial cells located between the photoreceptors and the choroidal blood supply. Progression of AMD to the late nonexudative "dry" stage of AMD, also called geographic atrophy, is linked to progressive loss of areas of the RPE, photoreceptors, and underlying choriocapillaris leading to a severe decline in patients' vision. Differential susceptibility of macular RPE in AMD and the lack of an anatomical macula in most lab animal models has promoted the use of in vitro models of the RPE. In addition, the need for high throughput platforms to test potential therapies has driven the creation and characterization of in vitro model systems that recapitulate morphologic and functional abnormalities associated with human AMD. These models range from spontaneously formed cell line ARPE19, immortalized cell lines such as hTERT-RPE1, RPE-J, and D407, to primary human (fetal or adult) or animal (mouse and pig) RPE cells, and embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived RPE. Hallmark RPE phenotypes, such as cobblestone morphology, pigmentation, and polarization, vary significantly betweendifferent models and culture conditions used in different labs, which would directly impact their usability for investigating different aspects of AMD biology. Here the AMD Disease Models task group of the Ryan Initiative for Macular Research (RIMR) provides a summary of several currently used in vitro RPE models, historical aspects of their development, RPE phenotypes that are attainable in these models, their ability to model different aspects of AMD pathophysiology, and pros/cons for their use in the RPE and AMD fields. In addition, due to the burgeoning use of iPSC derived RPE cells, the critical need for developing standards for differentiating and rigorously characterizing RPE cell appearance, morphology, and function are discussed.
Gong Y, Tomita Y, Edin ML, Ren A, Ko M, Yang J, Bull E, Zeldin DC, Hellström A, Fu Z, Smith LEH. Cytochrome P450 oxidase 2J inhibition suppresses choroidal neovascularization in mice. Metabolism 2022;134:155266.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) leads to blindness. It has been widely reported that increased intake of ω-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) diets reduce CNV. Of the three major pathways metabolizing ω-3 (and ω-6 LCPUFA), the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways generally produce pro-angiogenic metabolites from ω-6 LCPUFA and anti-angiogenic ones from ω-3 LCPUFA. Howevehr, cytochrome P450 oxidase (CPY) 2C produces pro-angiogenic metabolites from both ω-6 and ω-3 LCPUFA. The effects of CYP2J2 products on ocular neovascularization are still unknown. Understanding how each metabolic pathway affects the protective effect of ω-3 LCPUFA on retinal neovascularization may lead to therapeutic interventions. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the effects of LCPUFA metabolites through CYP2J2 pathway and CYP2J2 regulation on CNV both in vivo and ex vivo. METHODS: The impact of CYP2J2 overexpression and inhibition on neovascularization in the laser-induced CNV mouse model was assessed. The plasma levels of CYP2J2 metabolites were measured by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectroscopy. The choroidal explant sprouting assay was used to investigate the effects of CYP2J2 inhibition and specific LCPUFA CYP2J2 metabolites on angiogenesis ex vivo. RESULTS: CNV was exacerbated in Tie2-Cre CYP2J2-overexpressing mice and was associated with increased levels of plasma docosahexaenoic acids. Inhibiting CYP2J2 activity with flunarizine decreased CNV in both ω-6 and ω-3 LCPUFA-fed wild-type mice. In Tie2-Cre CYP2J2-overexpressing mice, flunarizine suppressed CNV by 33 % and 36 % in ω-6, ω-3 LCPUFA diets, respectively, and reduced plasma levels of CYP2J2 metabolites. The pro-angiogenic role of CYP2J2 was corroborated in the choroidal explant sprouting assay. Flunarizine attenuated ex vivo choroidal sprouting, and 19,20-EDP, a ω-3 LCPUFA CYP2J2 metabolite, increased sprouting. The combined inhibition of CYP2J2 with flunarizine and CYP2C8 with montelukast further enhanced CNV suppression via tumor necrosis factor-α suppression. CONCLUSIONS: CYP2J2 inhibition augmented the inhibitory effect of ω-3 LCPUFA on CNV. Flunarizine suppressed pathological choroidal angiogenesis, and co-treatment with montelukast inhibiting CYP2C8 further enhanced the effect. CYP2 inhibition might be a viable approach to suppress CNV in AMD.
Lin JB, Serghiou S, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Systemic Complement Activation Profiles in Nonexudative Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Systematic Review. Ophthalmol Sci 2022;2(2)Abstract
Topic: To evaluate whether differences exist in systemic complement activation profiles in patients with early to intermediate nonexudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or geographic atrophy (GA) compared with control participants without AMD. Clinical Relevance: Complement inhibition has emerged as a therapeutic strategy for GA, although clinical trials to date have yielded mixed results. Despite these efforts, no clear consensus exists regarding what portions of the complement pathway are dysregulated in AMD or when this dysregulation occurs relative to AMD stage. Although past studies have compared systemic complement activation profiles in patients with AMD versus in control participants without AMD, differences in AMD case definition and differing analytical approaches complicate their interpretation. Methods: We performed a systematic review by identifying articles from database inception through October 11, 2020, that reported systemic complement activation profiles in patients with early or intermediate nonexudative AMD or GA versus control participants without AMD by searching PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase. Risk of bias was assessed using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa score. Results: The 8 reviewed studies included 2131 independent participants. Most studies report significantly higher systemic levels of products associated with complement activation and significantly lower systemic levels of products associated with complement inhibition in patients with early and advanced nonexudative AMD compared with control participants without AMD. Discussion: Evidence suggests that systemic complement overactivation is a feature of early or intermediate and advanced nonexudative AMD. However, given significant heterogeneity, these findings are not conclusive and warrant further investigation.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Vavvas DG, Miller JW, Miller JB. Short- and Long-Term Visual Outcomes in Patients Receiving Intravitreal Injections: The Impact of the Coronavirus 2019 Disease (COVID-19)-Related Lockdown. J Clin Med 2022;11(8)Abstract
Purpose: To investigate the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19-related lockdown on the vision of patients requiring intravitreal injections (IVI) for neovascular Age-related Macular degeneration (nvAMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO), or branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO). Methods: This is a retrospective study from the Retina department of three Mass Eye and Ear centers. Charts of patients age of ≥ 18 years with any of the abovementioned diagnoses who had a scheduled appointment anytime between 17 March 2020 until 18 May 2020 (lockdown period in Boston, Massachusetts) were reviewed at baseline (up to 12 weeks before the lockdown), at first available follow-up (=actual f/u) during or after the lockdown period, at 3 months, 6 months, and at last available completed appointment of 2020. Results: A total of 1001 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of those patients, 479 (47.9%) completed their intended f/u appointment, while 522 missed it (canceled and "no show"). The delay in care of those who missed it was 59.15 days [standard deviation (SD) ± 49.6]. In these patients, significant loss of vision was noted at actual f/u [Best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in LogMAR (Logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution)-mean (±SD)-completed: 0.45 (±0.46), missed: 0.53 (±0.55); p = 0.01], which was more prominent in the DR group [Visual acuity (VA) change in LogMAR-mean (±SD); completed: 0.04 (±0.28), missed: 0.18 (±0.44); p = 0.02] and CRVO [completed: -0.06 (±0.27), missed: 0.11 (±0.35); p = &lt;0.001] groups followed by nvAMD [completed: 0.006 (±0.16), missed: 0.06 (±0.27); p = 0.004] and BRVO [completed: -0.02 (±0.1), missed: 0.03 (±0.14); p = 0.02] ones. Overall, a higher percent of people who missed their intended f/u experienced vision loss of more than 15 letters at last f/u compared to those who completed it [missed vs. completed; 13.4% vs. 7.4% in nvAMD (p = 0.72), 7.8% vs. 6.3% in DR (0.84), 15.5% vs. 9.9% in CRVO (p &lt; 0.001) and 9.6% vs. 2% in BRVO (p = 0.48)]. Conclusions: Delay in care of about 8.45 weeks can lead to loss of vision in patients who receive IVI with DR and CRVO patients being more vulnerable in the short-term, whereas in the long-term, CRVO patients followed by the nvAMD patients demonstrating the least vision recovery. BRVO patients were less likely to be affected by the delay in care. Adherence to treatment is key for maintaining and improving visual outcomes in patients who require IVI.
Douglas VP, Garg I, Douglas KA, Miller JB. Subthreshold Exudative Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV): Presentation of This Uncommon Subtype and Other CNVs in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). J Clin Med 2022;11(8)Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over the age of 50 worldwide. Exudative or neovascular AMD is a more severe subset of AMD which is characterized by the presence of choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Recent advancements in multimodal ophthalmic imaging, including optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT-angiography (OCT-A), have facilitated the detection and characterization of previously undetectable neovascular lesions and have enabled a more refined classification of CNV in exudative as well as nonexudative AMD patients. Subthreshold exudative CNV is a novel subtype of exudative AMD that typically presents asymptomatically with good visual acuity and is characterized by stable persistent or intermittent subretinal fluid (SRF). This review aims to provide an overview of the clinical as well as multimodal imaging characteristics of CNV in AMD, including this new clinical phenotype, and propose effective approaches for management.
Zhang C, Owen LA, Lillvis JH, Zhang SX, Kim IK, Deangelis MM. AMD Genomics: Non-Coding RNAs as Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets. J Clin Med 2022;11(6)Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is the world's leading cause of blindness in the aging population. Although the clinical stages and forms of AMD have been elucidated, more specific prognostic tools are required to determine when patients with early and intermediate AMD will progress into the advanced stages of AMD. Another challenge in the field has been the appropriate development of therapies for intermediate AMD and advanced atrophic AMD. After numerous negative clinical trials, an anti-C5 agent and anti-C3 agent have recently shown promising results in phase 3 clinical trials, in terms of slowing the growth of geographic atrophy, an advanced form of AMD. Interestingly, both drugs appear to be associated with an increased incidence of wet AMD, another advanced form of the disease, and will require frequent intravitreal injections. Certainly, there remains a need for other therapeutic agents with the potential to prevent progression to advanced stages of the disease. Investigation of the role and clinical utility of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) is a major advancement in biology that has only been minimally applied to AMD. In the following review, we discuss the clinical relevance of ncRNAs in AMD as both biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

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