Age- and Light-Dependent Development of Localised Retinal Atrophy in CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) Mice

Mei Chen, Jose R Hombrebueno, Chang Luo, Rosana Penalva, Jiawu Zhao, Liza Colhoun, Sudha Pirya Soundara Pandi, John V Forrester, Heping Xu

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38 Citations (Scopus)
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Previous studies have shown that CCL2/CX3CR1 deficient mice on C57BL/6N background (with rd8 mutation) have an early onset (6 weeks) of spontaneous retinal degeneration. In this study, we generated CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice on the C57BL/6J background. Retinal degeneration was not detected in CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice younger than 6 months. Patches of whitish/yellowish fundus lesions were observed in 17~60% of 12-month, and 30~100% of 18-month CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice. Fluorescein angiography revealed no choroidal neovascularisation in these mice. Patches of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and photoreceptor damage were detected in 30% and 50% of 12- and 18-month CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice respectively, but not in wild-type mice. All CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice exposed to extra-light (~800lux, 6 h/day, 6 months) developed patches of retinal atrophy, and only 20-25% of WT mice which underwent the same light treatment developed atrophic lesions. In addition, synaptophysin expression was detected in the outer nucler layer (ONL) of area related to photoreceptor loss in CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice. Markedly increased rhodopsin but reduced cone arrestin expression was observed in retinal outer layers in aged CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice. GABA expression was reduced in the inner retina of aged CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice. Significantly increased Müller glial and microglial activation was observed in CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice compared to age-matched WT mice. Macrophages from CCL2(-/-)CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice were less phagocytic, but expressed higher levels of iNOS, IL-1ß, IL-12 and TNF-a under hypoxia conditions. Our results suggest that the deletions of CCL2 and CX3CR1 predispose mice to age- and light-mediated retinal damage. The CCL2/CX3CR1 deficient mouse may thus serve as a model for age-related atrophic degeneration of the RPE, including the dry type of macular degeneration, geographic atrophy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61381
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine


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