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Complement modulation reverses pathology in Y402H-retinal pigment epithelium cell model of AMD by restoring lysosomal function

Lookup NU author(s): Edvinas Cerniauskas, Dr Marzena Kurzawa-Akanbi, Dr Long Xie, Dr Dean Hallam, Marina Moya Molina, David Steel, Professor Lyle Armstrong, Professor David KavanaghORCiD, Dr Viktor Korolchuk, Professor Claire Harris, Professor Majlinda LakoORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial disease, which is characterised by loss of central vision, affecting one in three people by the age of 75. The Y402H polymorphism in the complement factor H (CFH) gene significantly increases the risk of AMD. We show that Y402H-AMD-patient-specific retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells are characterised by a significant reduction in the number of melanosomes, an increased number of swollen lysosome-like-vesicles with fragile membranes, Cathepsin D leakage into drusen-like deposits and reduced lysosomal function. The turnover of C3 is increased significantly in high-risk RPE cells, resulting in higher internalisation and deposition of the Terminal Complement Complex C5b-9 at the lysosomes. Inhibition of C3 processing via the compstatin analogue Cp40 reverses the disease phenotypes by relieving the lysosomes of their overburden and restoring their function. These findings suggest that modulation of the complement system represents a useful therapeutic approach for AMD patients associated with complement dysregulation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cerniauskas E, Kurzawa-Akanbi M, Xie L, Hallam D, Moya-Molina M, White K, Steel D, Doherty M, Whitfield P, Al-Aama J, Armstrong L, Kavanagh D, Lambris J, Korolchuk V, Harris C, Lako M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stem Cells Translational Medicine

Year: 2020

Volume: 9

Issue: 12

Pages: 1585-1603

Print publication date: 01/12/2020

Online publication date: 20/08/2020

Acceptance date: 12/07/2020

Date deposited: 25/11/2020

ISSN (print): 2157-6564

ISSN (electronic): 2157-6580

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1002/sctm.20-0211


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Funder referenceFunder name
BB/R013942/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
BH182022Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity