Enhancing cholesterol removal from retinal pigment epithelium and choroidal endothelium cells, a new therapeutic strategy for age related macular degeneration.

Project Details


Our recent work in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells showed that increased cholesterol handling by the cell mitochondria, via a protein called TSPO, can enhance the levels of key genes controlling proteins involved in efflux (removal from the cell) of cholesterol. If the gene producing the TSPO protein is missing, cholesterol efflux is significantly decreased in RPE cells. TSPO was also significantly decreased in aged mouse RPE cells, which displayed lower cholesterol efflux. In this project we aim to understand the mechanisms of TSPO-mediated cholesterol movement from RPE cells to decrease extracellular lipid deposits and inhibit new blood vessel formation. We will determine the functional role of TSPO-mediated mitochondrial cholesterol trafficking in the RPE and choroidal endothelial cells; we will identify specific TSPO targeted compounds, which can promote the removal of cholesterol from the RPE and choroidal endothelial cells. We will examine any retinal abnormalities in the TSPO-deleted mice.
The results of this project will offer new insights into the pathogenesis of AMD and lead to the development of therapies to treat AMD patients at an early stage and during the progression from dry to wet AMD.
Effective start/end date1/02/1831/01/21


  • Rosetrees Trust: £30,000.00


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