PEDF Deletion Induces Senescence and Defects in Phagocytosis in the RPE.

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The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) expresses the Serpinf1 gene to produce pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a retinoprotective protein that is downregulated with cell senescence, aging and retinal degenerations. We determined the expression of senescence-associated genes in the RPE of 3-month-old mice that lack the Serpinf1 gene and found that Serpinf1 deletion induced H2ax for histone H2AX protein, Cdkn1a for p21 protein, and Glb1 gene for β-galactosidase. Senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity increased in the Serpinf1 null RPE when compared with wild-type RPE. We evaluated the subcellular morphology of the RPE and found that ablation of Serpinf1 increased the volume of the nuclei and the nucleoli number of RPE cells, implying chromatin reorganization. Given that the RPE phagocytic function declines with aging, we assessed the expression of the Pnpla2 gene, which is required for the degradation of photoreceptor outer segments by the RPE. We found that both the Pnpla2 gene and its protein PEDF-R declined with the Serpinf1 gene ablation. Moreover, we determined the levels of phagocytosed rhodopsin and lipids in the RPE of the Serpinf1 null mice. The RPE of the Serpinf1 null mice accumulated rhodopsin and lipids compared to littermate controls, implying an association of PEDF deficiency with RPE phagocytosis dysfunction. Our findings establish PEDF loss as a cause of senescence-like changes in the RPE, highlighting PEDF as both a retinoprotective and a regulatory protein of aging-like changes associated with defective degradation of the photoreceptor outer segment in the RPE.





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Rebustini, Ivan T, Susan E Crawford and S Patricia Becerra (2022). PEDF Deletion Induces Senescence and Defects in Phagocytosis in the RPE. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(14). p. 7745. 10.3390/ijms23147745 Retrieved from

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Susan Crawford

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pathology

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