• Innovative therapeutic approaches for the atrophic Age-related Macular Degeneration (“dry” AMD)
  • Caligiana, Alberto <1988>


  • BIO/14 Farmacologia


  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major concern regarding blindness in the world. In western countries, where visual alterations due to minor pathologies as cataract and uncorrected refractive errors are easily resolved, AMD represent the main cause of blindness. Of the two existing forms of the disease, while the neovascular is more aggressive and progress quickly, geographic atrophy is the one still lacking an appropriate therapy. My PhD program was focused on investigating AMD features, trying to understand if some approaches I tested could be able to provide some suggestion about potential future therapies on “dry” AMD. In my research I developed three main projects. The most important part of the work regards the study of integrins and their fundamental role in cell adhesion in a context of interaction between retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) and immune cells. I investigated how co-culture of these different cell lines can lead to simulate an inflammatory state inducing cell signaling, cytokine production and cell death. The use of integrin antagonists developed in our laboratory, showed how these effects can be reverted. A secondary approach regards the use of antioxidants and their role in epigenetic modifications in ARPE-19 cells to investigate how these compounds might exert their well-known protective role on AMD. Commonly used antioxidants as Lutein and Quercetin do not induce clear epigenetic modifications through histone H3 acetylation indicating only a limited involvement.
  • Finally, during the period abroad of my PhD program, I studied through an RNA-sequencing strategy how statins might exert a protective role in AMD. Following previous findings from my host laboratory, I investigated if treating ARPE-19 cells and primary culture of RPE cells with different concentrations of Atorvastatin could induce modification in expression of genes related to fundamental pathways as phagocytosis, debris removal and lipid metabolism. I was able to detect any genes involved in these modifications, without being able to prove a clear trend indicating a massive pathways involvement.


  • 2020-04-03


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Caligiana, Alberto (2020) Innovative therapeutic approaches for the atrophic Age-related Macular Degeneration (“dry” AMD), [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biotecnologiche e farmaceutiche , 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9143.