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Pauly, Diana; Agarwal, Divyansh; Dana, Nicholas; Schäfer, Nicole; Biber, Josef; Wunderlich, Kirsten A.; Jabri, Yassin; Straub, Tobias; Zhang, Nancy R.; Gautam, Avneesh K.; Weber, Bernhard H. F.; Hauck, Stefanie M.; Kim, Mijin; Curcio, Christine A.; Stambolian, Dwight; Li, Mingyao and Grosche, Antje (2019): Cell-Type-Specific Complement Expression in the Healthy and Diseased Retina. In: Cell Reports, Vol. 29, No. 9

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Complement dysregulation is a feature of many retinal diseases, yet mechanistic understanding at the cellular level is limited. Given this knowledge gap about which retinal cells express complement, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on similar to 92,000 mouse retinal cells and validated our results in five major purified retinal cell types. We found evidence for a distributed cell-type-specific complement expression across 11 cell types. Notably, Muller cells are the major contributor of complement activators c1s, c3, c4, and cfb. Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) mainly expresses cfh and the terminal complement components, whereas cfi and cfp transcripts are most abundant in neurons. Aging enhances c1s, cfb, cfp, and cfi expression, while cfh expression decreases. Transient retinal ischemia increases complement expression in microglia, Muller cells, and RPE. In summary, we report a unique complement expression signature for murine retinal cell types suggesting a well-orchestrated regulation of local complement expression in the retinal microenvironment.

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