Antibodies, immunoreactive with normal human retinal proteins, were detected by Western immunoblot analysis in the sera of 30 patients with agerelated macular degeneration (AMD). Sera from 14 of these patients demonstrated positive binding predominantly to a doublet protein of molecular weight between 58 and 62 kD. The sera from the remaining 16 patients and from 12 control subjects reacted either weakly or not at all with the doublet protein. No correlation was found with any specific type of AMD. The serum antibodies also immunocrossreacted with the same proteins from isolated photoreceptor outer segments; this was confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence on intact retinas. The crossreactivity of the serum antibodies with a protein of Mr 58 to 62 kD, the lower band present in the bovine purified neurofilament-68 kD preparation, suggests strongly that this protein may be a component of the neuronal cytoskeleton. However, it is not clear whether these autoantibodies play a direct role in the etiology of AMD or represent a nonspecific response to retinal damage.
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