Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) is a member of the serine protease inhibitor superfamily produced by retinal pigment epithelial cells in the developing and adult retina. In vitro , it induces neuronal differentiation of retinoblastoma cells and promotes survival of cerebellar granule neurons. The pedf gene is closely linked to an autosomal-dominant locus for retinitis pigmentosa, suggesting that PEDF could be a survival factor for photoreceptors. We have investigated this possibility by injecting PEDF into the eyes of homozygous retinal degeneration ( rd ) and retinal degeneration slow ( rds ) mice, two mutants displaying apoptotic photoreceptor loss. This procedure resulted in a transient delay of photoreceptor loss in the rd mouse and a reduction in apoptotic photoreceptor profiles in the rds mouse. We conclude that PEDF can act as a survival-promoting factor for photoreceptors in vivo and could potentially be useful for the treatment of photoreceptor diseases.
Neurobiology of Disease – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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