Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world. In advanced AMD, new vessels from choriocapillaris (CC) invade through the Bruch's membrane (BrM) into the retina, forming choroidal neovascularization (CNV). BrM, an elastic lamina that is located between the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and CC, is thought to act as a physical and functional barrier against CNV. The BrM of patients with early AMD are characterized by decreased levels of antiangiogenic factors, including endostatin, thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), and pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), as well as by degeneration of the elastic layer. Motivated by a previous report that heat increases elastin expression in human skin, we examined the effect of heat on human ARPE-19 cell production of BrM components. Heat treatment stimulated the production of BrM components, including TSP-1, PEDF, and tropoelastin in vitro and increased the antiangiogenic activity of RPE measured in amouse corneal pocket assay. The effect of heat on experimental CNV was investigated by pretreating the retina with heat via infrared diode laser prior to the induction of CNV. Heat treatment blocked the development of experimental CNV in vivo. These findings suggest that heat treatment may restore BrM integrity and barrier function against new vessel growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology