Circulating antibodies specific to retinal proteins have been associated with retinal dysfunction in patients with retinopathy. Anti-recoverin antibodies found in patients with cancer-associated retinopathy (CAR) represent a unique model to study the relationship between retinal degeneration and autoimmunity. A body of evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies indicates that anti-recoverin autoantibodies are cytotoxic to retinal cells and induce apoptotic death of retinal photoreceptor cells, which leads to the degeneration of the photoreceptor cell layer. Similar to anti-recoverin autoantibodies, antibodies with other retinal specificities induce their target retinal cell death by activating a caspase 3-dependent apoptotic pathway. Thus, autoantibody-induced apoptosis may be a common pathway that leads to retinal death and blindness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy