PURPOSE. Subretinal fibrosis causes damage to visual acuity, especially if the lesion is in the macula, as is frequently observed in advanced age-related macular degeneration. Exudate leukocytes form abnormal vessels that initiate regional inflammation accompanied with local glial proliferation and matrix production. The purpose of this study was to establish an animal model of focal subretinal fibrosis. METHODS. Macrophage-rich peritoneal exudate cells (PECs) were injected into the subretinal space of C57BL/6 or MCP-1 knockout (KO) mice. Seven days later, the size of the subretinal fibrotic tissue was evaluated by the adherent area of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive retinal glial cells on choroidal flat mounts. Myofibroblastic changes and collagen synthesis were detected by α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and Masson trichrome staining of the histologic section, respectively. α-SMA expression was also examined on retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells during co-culture with activated macrophages. RESULTS. Subretinal fibrous tissue was observed by funduscopy in PEC-injected mice after 7 days. The tissue consisted of a monotonous, low-cell-density area that expressed α-SMA with collagen synthesis. Both steroid and antioxidant treatment can reduce residual glia. Because PEC-injected MCP-1 KO mice showed less residual glia, not only exogenous macrophages, but also intrinsic macrophages were activated. The macrophages directly induced myofibrotic changes in RPE cells in vitro. CONCLUSIONS. Activated macrophages form subretinal fibrosis when they are placed in the subretinal space and induce myofibrotic changes in RPE cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience