The Regulation of AMD Pathobiology by Complement Factor H

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



Complement factor H (CFH) is a major susceptibility gene for age-related macular degeneration (AMD); however, its impact on AMD pathobiology is unresolved. Here, the role of CFH in the development of AMD pathology in vivo was interrogated by analyzing aged Cfh+/- and Cfh-/- mice fed a high fat, cholesterol-enriched diet. Strikingly, decreased levels of CFH led to increased sub-retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) deposit formation, specifically basal laminar deposits, following high fat diet. Mechanistically, our data show that deposits are due to CFH competition for lipoprotein binding sites in Bruch’s membrane. Interestingly and despite sub-RPE deposit formation occurring in both Cfh+/- and Cfh-/- mice, RPE damage accompanied by loss of vision occurred only in old Cfh+/- mice. We demonstrate that such pathology is a function of excess complement activation and C5a production, associated with monocyte recruitment, in Cfh+/- mice versus complement deficiency in Cfh-/- animals. Due to the CFH dependent increase in sub-RPE deposit height we interrogated the potential of CFH as a novel regulator of Bruch’s membrane lipoprotein binding and show, using human Bruch’s membrane explants, that CFH removes endogenous human lipoproteins in aged donors. Interestingly, although the CFH H402 variant shows altered binding to BrM, this does not affect its ability to remove endogenous lipoproteins. This new understanding of the complicated interactions of CFH in AMD-like pathology provides an improved foundation for the development of targeted therapies for AMD.






Toomey, Christopher B (2016). The Regulation of AMD Pathobiology by Complement Factor H. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.