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In this study we examined the effect of T cell-derived cytokines on retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells with respect to expression of complement components. We used an in vitro co-culture system in which CD3/CD28-activated human T cells were separated from the human RPE cell line (ARPE-19) by a membrane. Differential gene expression in the RPE cells of complement factor genes was identified using gene arrays, and selected gene transcripts were validated by q-RT-PCR. Protein expression was determined by ELISA and immunoblotting. Co-culture with activated T cells increased RPE mRNA and/or protein expression of complement components C3, factors B, H, H-like 1, CD46, CD55, CD59, and clusterin, in a dose-dependent manner. Soluble factors derived from activated T cells are capable of increasing expression of complement components in RPE cells. This is important for the further understanding of inflammatory ocular diseases such as uveitis and age-related macular degeneration. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Helene B Juel, Charlotte Kaestel, Lasse Folkersen, Carsten Faber, Niels H H Heegaard, Rehannah Borup, Mogens H Nissen. Retinal pigment epithelial cells upregulate expression of complement factors after co-culture with activated T cells. Experimental eye research. 2011 Mar;92(3):180-8

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PMID: 21255569

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