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Title: Neuroprotection gene therapy in retinal degeneration
Author: Shan, Haidong
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 402X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Retinal degenerative disease, which includes age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, is the main cause of blindness in developed countries. Degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and photoreceptor cells through apoptosis is believed to be the main mechanism of cell death. X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) is an endogenous anti-apoptotic protein that mediates its effects through the inhibition of caspases - the proteins regulating the final stages of apoptosis. The neuroprotection of XIAP has been demonstrated in various neurodegenerative models. Retinal gene therapy based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) has recently been proven safe and effective in clinical trials of Leber's congenital amaurosis. However, studies are very limited so far about AAV-mediated XIAP effect on degeneration of the RPE and photoreceptor cells. In this thesis, a comprehensive study of AAV-mediated XIAP was performed in the RPE and photoreceptor degenerative models. First, an oxidative stress model was investigated using H2O2 in a human RPE cell line. Second, AAV2-mediated XIAP conferred marked protection on the RPE cells against H2O2 induced apoptosis. Third, an in vivo analysis using confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope was applied to the NaIO3 induced retinopathy in two transgenic mice (NRL-GFP and B6TGOPN1LW-EGFP). However, subretinal injection of AAV2-XIAP did not rescue photoreceptor cells in the NaIO3-treated animals. Finally, AAV8-XIAP was tested in a rhodopsin mutant mouse line with retinal degeneration (the Rho-/- B6TGOPN1LW-EGFP mouse) but did not reveal any protection on cone photoreceptors. Overall the work in this thesis indicates a limited protection of AAV-mediated XIAP on the RPE and photoreceptor cells in the degenerative models used. XIAP based gene therapy may be helpful for RPE preservation in atrophic AMD, but it needs further research.
Supervisor: MacLaren, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ophthamology ; X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis