Modification of Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Extracellular Matrices as an in vitro model for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
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To study the effects of modifications to the extracellular matrix (ECM) on cell viability in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most prevalent causes of vision loss across industrialized nations, and currently there is no effective treatment to stop the progression of the disease. AMD can be further subdivided into wet AMD or dry AMD with about ninety percent of patients receiving the latter diagnosis. In the course of this disease, RPE cells die, leading to loss of central vision. As individuals age, proteins in the RPE extracellular matrix undergo glycation and nitration which diminishes the ability of RPE cells to attach to the basement membrane. This phenomenon contributes to the loss of photoreceptors in the central, macular region which leads to loss of central vision. Glycation and nitration are important ECM chemical modifications that are commonly seen in postmortem individuals and patients suffering from chronic retinal inflammation, respectively. Knowledge of the effect of chemically modified ECM on retinal pigment epithelial cells may allow for the development of targeted treatments. Previous studies have shown diminished cell viability for RPE cells on both modified matrices. This research consisted of using the ARPE-19 cell line and ECM chemical modifications as a model for what occurs in the human eye with age. The current data was collected for biological replicates on both modified matrices, and both did not show significant decrease in cell proliferation. This research provides background on progression of retinal diseases by examining the effects of nitrite and glycoaldehyde modified ECMs on RPE cell behavior as a potential model for targeted AMD therapeutics.