EX-vivo whole blood stimulation with A2E does not elicit an inflammatory cytokine response in patients with age-related macular degeneration

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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a highly prevalent degenerative disease and a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Evidence for an inflammatory component in the development of AMD exists, yet the exact mechanisms remain unclear. Bisretinoid N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine (A2E) in retinal pigmental epithelial (RPE) cells, and in extracellular deposits constitutes a hallmark of AMD, but its role in the pathology of AMD is elusive. Here, we tested the hypothesis that A2E is responsible for the heightened inflammatory activity in AMD. To this end, we measured ex vivo mRNA expression of the cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 in whole blood samples after stimulation with A2E in a clinical sample of 27 patients with neovascular AMD and 24 patients with geographic atrophy secondary to AMD. Patients’ spouses (n = 30) were included as non-affected controls. After stimulation with A2E, no statistical differences were found in the median expression level of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10 between the control group, and the neovascular AMD and the geographic atrophy group. Our findings do not support evidence for the hypothesis, that A2E per se contributes to heightened inflammatory activity in AMD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8226
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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