Role of RPE cells in Age Related Macular Degeneration

Gregory Liou, PhD
Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, GA)
Year Awarded:
Grant Duration:
April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002
Macular Degeneration
Award Amount:
Grant Reference ID:
Award Type:
Award Region:
US Southeastern

Role of RPE cells in Age Related Macular Degeneration


Normal RPE cells form a single cell layer that supports the function of the retina. It is believed that the cells in this "monolayer" do not divide. Instead, they strongly adhere to each other and form cell-cell communications that support vision. Unfortunately, these cell adhesions and communication are lost because of inflammation in the wet form of AMD. When inflammation occurs, RPE cells secrete many growth factors and respond to them with their receptors. One of these factors is hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which stimulates the division and migration of RPE and blood vessel endothelial cells. HGF also stimulates the production of other growth factors that promote the formation of new blood vessels and allows the invasion of the blood vessel cells into the neighboring matrix, which is an early event of neovascularization. Dr. Liou will study RPE cells treated with HGF to understand the mechanism of cell growth and migration induced by HGF. He will also examine surgically excised CNV membranes from patients with AMD to determine whether an HGF receptor is expressed in these membranes. He will study the role of HGF in CNV formation in mice by testing a recently discovered, HGF-related protein, which has been shown to reduce new blood vessel formation in a number of tissues.


Marcus, D.M., Rustgi, A.K., Defoe, D., Kucherlapati, R., Hamasaki, D., Liou, G.I., and Smith, S.B. (2000) Ultrastructural and ERG findings in mice with adenomatous polyposis coli gene disruption. Mol. Vis. 6:169-177.  

Liou GI, Pakalnis VA, Matragoon S, Samuel S, Behzadian MA, Baker J, Khalil IE, Roon P, Caldwell RB, Hunt RC, Marcus DM. HGF regulation of RPE proliferation in an IL-1beta/retinal hole-induced rabbit model of PVR. Mol Vis. 2002 Dec 20;8:494-501.  

Liou GI, Matragoon S, Samuel S, Behzadian MA, Tsai NT, Gu X, Roon P, Hunt DM, Hunt RC, Caldwell RB, Marcus DM.MAP kinase and beta-catenin signaling in HGF induced RPE migration. Mol Vis. 2002 Dec 20;8:483-93.  

Liou GI, Samuel S, Matragoon S, Goss KH, Santoro I, Groden J, Hunt RC, Wang F, Miller SS, Caldwell RB, Rustgi AK, Singh H, Marcus DM.Alternative splicing of the APC gene in the neural retina and retinal pigment epithelium. Mol Vis. 2004 Jun 14;10:383-91.  

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