Modulation of three key innate immune pathways for the most common retinal degenerative diseases

Isha Akhtar-Schäfer, Luping Wang, Tim U Krohne, Heping Xu, Thomas Langmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
284 Downloads (Pure)


This review highlights the role of three key immune pathways in the pathophysiology of major retinal degenerative diseases including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and rare retinal dystrophies. We first discuss the mechanisms how loss of retinal homeostasis evokes an unbalanced retinal immune reaction involving responses of local microglia and recruited macrophages, activity of the alternative complement system, and inflammasome assembly in the retinal pigment epithelium. Presenting these key mechanisms as complementary targets, we specifically emphasize the concept of immunomodulation as potential treatment strategy to prevent or delay vision loss. Promising molecules are ligands for phagocyte receptors, specific inhibitors of complement activation products, and inflammasome inhibitors. We comprehensively summarize the scientific evidence for this strategy from preclinical animal models, human ocular tissue analyses, and clinical trials evolving in the last few years.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8259
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Issue number9
Early online date17 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2018


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