The objective of this study was to explore the role of classical, lectin, and alternative pathways of complement activation in laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV). The classical and alternative pathways were blocked in C57BL/6 mice by small interfering RNAs (siRNA) directed against C1q and factor B, respectively. C4(-/-) mice developed CNV similar to their wild-type controls and inhibition of C1q by siRNA had no effect on the development of CNV. In contrast, CNV was significantly inhibited (p < 0.001) in C5(-/-) mice and C57BL/6 mice treated with factor B siRNA. Inhibition of the alternative pathway by factor B siRNA resulted in decreased levels of membrane attack complex and angiogenic factors-vascular endothelial growth factor and TGF-beta2. Furthermore, factor B was up-regulated in complement sufficient C57BL/6 mice at day 1 postlaser and remained elevated at day 7. Significantly reduced levels of factor H were observed at day 3 in these animals. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that activation of the factor B-dependent alternative pathway, but not the classical or lectin pathways, was essential for the development of CNV in mouse model of laser-induced CNV. Thus, specific blockade of the alternative pathway may represent a therapeutically relevant strategy for the inhibition of CNV.
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