Immune System, Inflammation and Autoantigens in Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Pathological Significance and Therapeutic Importance

Sreeraj Kuruppilakath Manikandan, Ann Logan, Marc Cerrada-Gimenez, Laurence Fitzhenry, Lee Coffey, Simon Kaja, Sweta Rani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) is a chronic inflammation-associated neurodegenerative disease affecting the posterior part of the eye in the aging population. Aging results in the reduced functionality of cells and tissues, including the cells of the retina. Initiators of a chronic inflammatory and pathologic state in wAMD may be a result of the accumulation of inevitable metabolic injuries associated with the maintenance of tissue homeostasis from a young age to over 50. Apart from this, risk factors like smoking, genetic predisposition, and failure to repair the injuries that occur, alongside attempts to rescue the hypoxic outer retina may also contribute to the pathogenesis. Aging of the immune system (immunosenescence) and a compromised outer blood retinal barrier (BRB) result in the exposure of the privileged milieu of the retina to the systemic immune system, further increasing the severity of the disease. When immune-privileged sites like the retina are under pathological stress, certain age- and disease-related conditions may necessitate assistance from cells distant from the resident ones to help restore the functionality of the tissue. As a necessary part of tissue repair, inflammation is a major response to disease and recruits immune cells to the site of damage. We suspect that the specific reparative inflammatory responses are controlled by an autoantigen-T cell-mediated mechanism, a process that may be hindered in wAMD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLife
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2023

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