Targeting cell-type-specific, choroid-peripheral immune signaling to treat age-related macular degeneration

Joseph B. Lin, Andrea Santeford, Jason J. Colasanti, Yoon Lee, Aaditya V. Shah, Tzu Jui Wang, Philip A. Ruzycki, Rajendra S. Apte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness featuring pathogenic neovascularization of the choroidal vasculature (CNV). Although systemic immunity plays a role in AMD, the ocular signals that recruit and activate immune cells remain poorly defined. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we prospectively profile peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 65 individuals including AMD and controls, which we integrate with existing choroid data. We generate a network of choroid-peripheral immune interactions dysregulated in AMD, including known AMD-relevant gene vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2. Additionally, we find CYR61 is upregulated in choroidal veins and may signal to circulating monocytes. In mice, we validate that CYR61 is abundant in endothelial cells within CNV lesions neighboring monocyte-derived macrophages. Mechanistically, CYR61 activates macrophage anti-angiogenic gene expression, and ocular Cyr61 knockdown increases murine CNV size, indicating CYR61 inhibits CNV. This study highlights the potential of multi-tissue human datasets to identify disease-relevant and potentially therapeutically modifiable targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101353
JournalCell Reports Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2024


  • CYR61
  • angiogenesis
  • choroid
  • macrophage
  • neovascularization


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