Wai T. Wong, M.D., Ph.D.
Neuron-Glia Interactions in Retinal Disease Section
Building 6, Room 217
6 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-0606
Our research group, the Neuron-Glia Interactions in Retinal Diseases Section (NGIRDS), investigates the role of microglia, the resident immune cell of the retina, in normal physiological function and in the pathogenesis of retinal diseases. Of particular interest are retinal diseases in which age-related neuroinflammation features prominently, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is responsible for the majority of vision loss in the developed world. Key areas of focus are: 1) the role of microglia in the basic physiological function of the retina, and cell-cell interactions between microglia and other retinal cell types, 2) the aging phenotype of the retinal microglial cell, 3) the role of microglia in the pathogenesis of retinal disorders, and 4) translational research on microglial-based therapies in preclinical and proof-of-concept phase I/II clinical trials.
Our laboratory has used a combination of ex vivo live-imaging techniques, in vitro studies, and animal models of disease to investigate the involvement of microglia in intercellular interactions with other retinal cell types under normal and pathological conditions. One key motivation is to understand how these cellular interactions undergo progressive change during senescence, resulting in age-related neuroinflammation that drive retinal disease pathogenesis. We are interested in discovering the molecular bases for these cellular interactions which allow the discovery of therapeutic targets directed at retinal microglia. The group is currently involved in a number of phase I/II trials using microglial inhibition as a treatment for age-related macular degeneration.
Silverman SM, Ma W, Wang X, Zhao L, Wong WT. C3- and CR3-dependent microglial clearance protects photoreceptors in retinitis pigmentosa. J Exp Med. 2019;216(8):1925-1943.
Ma W, Silverman SM, Zhao L, Villasmil R, Campos MM, Amaral J, Wong WT. Absence of TGFβ signaling in retinal microglia induces retinal degeneration and exacerbates choroidal neovascularization. Elife. 2019;8.
Silverman SM, Wong WT. Microglia in the Retina: Roles in Development, Maturity, and Disease. Annu Rev Vis Sci. 2018;4:45-77.
Zhang Y, Zhao L, Wang X, Ma W, Lazere A, Qian HH, Zhang J, Abu-Asab M, Fariss RN, Roger JE, Wong WT. Repopulating retinal microglia restore endogenous organization and function under CX3CL1-CX3CR1 regulation. Sci Adv. 2018;4(3):eaap8492.
Zhao L, Zabel MK, Wang X, Ma W, Shah P, Fariss RN, Qian H, Parkhurst CN, Gan WB, Wong WT. Microglial phagocytosis of living photoreceptors contributes to inherited retinal degeneration. EMBO Mol Med. 2015;7(9):1179-97.
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This page was last updated on August 21st, 2019