Purpose: Milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor-factor VIII (MFGE8) is necessary for diurnal outer segment phagocytosis and promotes VEGF-dependent neovascularization. The prevalence of two single nucleotide polymorphi
Purpose: Milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor-factor VIII (MFGE8) is necessary for diurnal outer segment phagocytosis and promotes VEGF-dependent neovascularization. The prevalence of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in MFGE8 was studied in two exsudative or “wet” Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) groups and two corresponding control groups. We studied the effect of MFGE8 deficiency on retinal homeostasis with age and on choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in mice.
Methods: The distribution of the SNP (rs4945 and rs1878326) of MFGE8 was analyzed in two groups of patients with “wet” AMD and their age-matched controls from Germany and France. MFGE8-expressing cells were identified in Mfge8+/− mice expressing ß-galactosidase. Aged Mfge8+/− and Mfge8−/− mice were studied by funduscopy, histology, electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy of vascular corrosion casts of the choroid, and after laser-induced CNV.
Results: rs1878326 was associated with AMD in the French and German group. The Mfge8 promoter is highly active in photoreceptors but not in retinal pigment epithelium cells. Mfge8−/− mice did not differ from controls in terms of fundus appearance, photoreceptor cell layers, choroidal architecture or laser-induced CNV. In contrast, the Bruch's membrane (BM) was slightly but significantly thicker in Mfge8−/− mice as compared to controls.
Conclusions: Despite a reproducible minor increase of rs1878326 in AMD patients and a very modest increase in BM in Mfge8−/− mice, our data suggests that MFGE8 dysfunction does not play a critical role in the pathogenesis of AMD.…