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Macrophage modulation of retinal pigment epithelial cell migration and proliferation


Macrophages are fully differentiated cells that do not synthesize an extracellular matrix and do not contract; they do, however, produce substances that modify the behavior and functions of other cells, particularly those involved in the inflammatory and immune responses. Since macrophages are a ubiquitous component of periretinal membranes, we sought to determine whether they modulate proliferation and/or migration of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, functions that may be essential for the development of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). Using an in vitro assay, we found that macrophage supernatant contains factors that stimulate proliferation and migration of cultured human RPE cells. Since interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a product of activated macrophages that modulates a number of cellular functions, we also examined its effect on RPE proliferation and migration. We found that IL-1 increased migration but did not affect proliferation, and thus could not duplicate the effect of macrophage supernatant. Injection of activated macrophages into the vitreous of rabbits which had a retinal hole stimulated RPE cell proliferation in the area of the retinal hole, where the RPE cells were exposed. These findings suggest the ability of macrophages to modulate functions of RPE cells that are thought to be critical for the development of PVR. Macrophages may thus be an important part of the vitreous environment that favors the development of PVR.

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Correspondence to N. Sorgente.

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Kirchhof, B., Kirchhof, E., Ryan, S.J. et al. Macrophage modulation of retinal pigment epithelial cell migration and proliferation. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 227, 60–66 (1989).

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  • Migration
  • Epithelial Cell
  • Extracellular Matrix
  • Cell Migration
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelial