ROCK-Isoform-Specific Polarization of Macrophages Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Souska Zandi, Shintaro Nakao, Kwang Hoon Chun, Paolo Fiorina, Dawei Sun, Ryoichi Arita, Ming Zhao, Enoch Kim, Olivier Schueller, Stewart Campbell, Mahdi Taher, Mark Ivan Melhorn, Alexander Schering, Francesca Gatti, Sara Tezza, Fang Xie, Andrea Vergani, Shigeo Yoshida, Keijiro Ishikawa, Muneo YamaguchiFumiyuki Sasaki, Ruth Schmidt-Ullrich, Yasuaki Hata, Hiroshi Enaida, Mitsuko Yuzawa, Takehiko Yokomizo, Young Bum Kim, Paul Sweetnam, Tatsuro Ishibashi, Ali Hafezi-Moghadam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Age is a major risk factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but the underlying cause is unknown. We find increased Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) signaling and M2 characteristics in eyes of aged mice, revealing immune changes in aging. ROCK isoforms determine macrophage polarization into M1 and M2 subtypes. M2-like macrophages accumulated in AMD, but not in normal eyes, suggesting that these macrophages may be linked to macular degeneration. M2 macrophages injected into the mouse eye exacerbated choroidal neovascular lesions, while M1 macrophages ameliorated them, supporting a causal role for macrophage subtypes in AMD. Selective ROCK2 inhibition with a small molecule decreased M2-like macrophages and choroidal neovascularization. ROCK2 inhibition upregulated M1 markers without affecting macrophage recruitment, underlining the plasticity of these macrophages. These results reveal age-induced innate immune imbalance as underlying AMD pathogenesis. Targeting macrophage plasticity opens up new possibilities for more effective AMD treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1186
Number of pages14
JournalCell Reports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 24 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'ROCK-Isoform-Specific Polarization of Macrophages Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this