Involvement of Innate Immune System in Late Stages of Inherited Photoreceptor Degeneration
Medicine and Health Sciences
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal degenerations that lead to progressive vision loss. Over 200 mutations in 60 different genes have been shown to cause RP. Given the diversity of genes and mutations that cause RP, corrective gene therapy approaches currently in development may prove both time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for treatment of all forms of RP. An alternative approach is to find common biological pathways that cause retinal degeneration in various forms of RP, and identify new molecular targets. With this goal, we analyzed the retinal transcriptome of two non-allelic forms of RP in dogs, rcd1 and xlpra2, at clinically relevant advanced stages of the two diseases. Both diseases showed very similar trends in changes in gene expression compared to control normal dogs. Pathway analysis revealed upregulation of various components of the innate immune system in both diseases, including inflammasome and complement pathways. Our results show that the retinal transcriptome at advanced stages of RP is very similar to that of other retinal degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Thus, drugs and therapeutics already in development for targeting these retinopathies may also prove useful for the treatment of many forms of RP.