Oxidative stress, inflammation and neovascularization are the key pathological events that are implicated in human age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are a limited number of animal models available for evaluating and developing new therapies. Most models represent late exudative or neovascular AMD (nAMD) but there is a relative paucity of models that mimic early events in AMD. The purpose of this study is to characterize the evolution of oxidative stress, inflammation, retinal degeneration and neovascularization in a rat model of AMD, created by subretinal injection of human lipid hydroperoxide (HpODE) that found in the sub-macular region in aged and AMD patients. Subretinal HpODE induced retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and retinal degeneration resulting in loss of RPE cells, photoreceptors and retinal thinning. RPE degeneration and atrophy were detected by day 5, followed by neural tissue degeneration at day 12 with robust TUNEL positive cells. Western blot analysis confirmed an increase in pro-apoptotic Bak protein at day 12 in retinal tissues. Oxidative damage biomarkers (4-hydroxynonenal, malondialdehyde, 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, and nitrotyrosine) increased in retinal tissue from days 5–12. Müller glial activation was observed in the HpODE injected area at day 5 followed by its remodeling and migration in the outer retina by day 20. RT-qPCR analysis further indicated upregulation of pro-inflammatory genes (TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6) both in retinal and RPE/choroidal tissue as early as day 2 and persisted until day 12. Upregulation of oxidative stress markers such as NADPH oxidase (NOX and DOUX family) was detected early in retinal tissue by day 2 followed by its upregulation in choroidal tissue at day 5. Neovascularization was demonstrated from day 12 to day 20 post HpODE injection in choroidal tissue. The results from this study indicate that subretinal HpODE induces advanced AMD phenotypes comprising many aspects of both dry/early and late) and neovascular/late AMD as observed in humans. Within 3 weeks via oxidative damage, upregulation of reactive oxygen species and pro-inflammatory genes, pro-apoptotic Bak and pro-angiogenic VEGF upregulation occurs leading to CNV formation. This experimental model of subretinal HpODE is an appropriate model for the study of AMD and provides an important platform for translational and basic research in developing new therapies particularly for early/dry AMD where currently no viable therapies are available.
- Age- related macular degeneration
- Choroidal neovascularization
- Oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience