A non membrane-targeted human soluble CD59 attenuates choroidal neovascularization in a model of age related macular degeneration

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 28;6(4):e19078. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019078.


Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness amongst the elderly. Approximately 10% of AMD patients suffer from an advanced form of AMD characterized by choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Recent evidence implicates a significant role for complement in the pathogenesis of AMD. Activation of complement terminates in the incorporation of the membrane attack complex (MAC) in biological membranes and subsequent cell lysis. Elevated levels of MAC have been documented on choroidal blood vessels and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of AMD patients. CD59 is a naturally occurring membrane bound inhibitor of MAC formation. Previously we have shown that membrane bound human CD59 delivered to the RPE cells of mice via an adenovirus vector can protect those cells from human complement mediated lysis ex vivo. However, application of those observations to choroidal blood vessels are limited because protection from MAC- mediated lysis was restricted only to the cells originally transduced by the vector. Here we demonstrate that subretinal delivery of an adenovirus vector expressing a transgene for a soluble non-membrane binding form of human CD59 can attenuate the formation of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization and murine MAC formation in mice even when the region of vector delivery is distal to the site of laser induced CNV. Furthermore, this same recombinant transgene delivered to the intravitreal space of mice by an adeno-associated virus vector (AAV) can also attenuate laser-induced CNV. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a non-membrane targeting CD59 having biological potency in any animal model of disease in vivo. We propose that the above approaches warrant further exploration as potential approaches for alleviating complement mediated damage to ocular tissues in AMD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • CD59 Antigens / chemistry*
  • CD59 Antigens / genetics*
  • Cell Line
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / genetics*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / therapy*
  • Complement Membrane Attack Complex / metabolism
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lasers / adverse effects
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology
  • Macular Degeneration / genetics
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Macular Degeneration / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Solubility


  • CD59 Antigens
  • Complement Membrane Attack Complex