Analysis of retinal pigment epithelium integrin expression and adhesion to aged submacular human Bruch's membrane

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Abstract

Purpose: Uncultured aged retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) does not resurface aged Bruch's membrane after 24 hours in organ culture. These experiments assess whether culturing alters RPE integrin expression and resurfacing of Bruch's membrane. Methods: RNA was isolated from uncultured and cultured RPE of aged adult donor and fetal eyes. Integrin subunit messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was studied by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and semiquantitative analysis of the amplified products. Cell surface integrin expression was assessed using flow cytometry. Passaged cultured fetal RPE and primary cultured aged RPE were seeded onto Bruch's membrane, and resurfacing was assessed with scanning electron microscopy. Results: Uncultured fetal RPE had low levels of α3 and β5 mRNA compared to passaged cultured fetal RPE. Uncultured aged RPE had decreased α1-5 mRNA compared to primary cultured aged RPE. Cultured aged RPE had decreased β4 and β5 mRNA compared to passaged cultured fetal RPE. Flow cytometry confirmed the expression of α1-5, αv, and β1 protein on cultured fetal RPE and α1-3 and β1 protein on cultured aged RPE. Twenty-four hours after seeding, cultured fetal and aged RPE resurfaced 99% ± 1.3% and 76% ± 22%, respectively, of aged submacular Bruch's membrane specimens from which native RPE had been debrided, exposing the native RPE basement membrane. Cultured fetal and aged RPE resurfaced 97% ± 3.1% and 39% ± 35%, respectively, of specimens in which the inner collagenous layer was exposed. Conclusions: Uncultured aged RPE has low amounts of integrin subunits that form receptors for laminin, fibronectin, and collagens. Culturing up-regulates integrins and promotes more efficient aged RPE attachment to and survival on aged Bruch's membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-520
Number of pages22
JournalTransactions of the American Ophthalmological Society
Volume101
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology

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