Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly, is characterized by loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). While the disease mechanism remains unclear, prior studies have linked AMD with RPE mitochondrial defects and genetic polymorphisms in the complement pathway. This study used RPE generated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-RPE), which were derived from human donors with or without AMD and genotyped for the complement factor H (CFH) AMD high-risk allele (rs1061170, Y402H) to investigate whether donor disease state or genotype had a detrimental effect on mitochondrial function and inflammation. Results show that cells derived from donors with AMD display decreased mitochondrial function under conditions of stress and elevated expression of inflammatory markers compared to iPSC-RPE from individuals without AMD. A more pronounced reduction in mitochondrial function and increased inflammatory markers was observed in CFH high-risk cells, irrespective of disease state. These results provide evidence for a previously unrecognized link between CFH and mitochondrial function that could contribute to RPE loss in AMD patients harboring the CFH high-risk genotype.
- age-related macular degeneration
- complement factor H
- induced pluripotent stem cell
- mitochondrial function
- retinal pigment epithelium