The retinal pigment epithelium. Chemical composition and structure.

Investigative ophthalmology 10/1974; 13(9):675-87.
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    ABSTRACT: To show that fish oil-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, delivered to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) by circulating low-density lipoproteins (LDL), enhance already considerable RPE lysosomal acid lipase activity, providing for more efficient hydrolysis of intralysosomal RPE lipids, an effect that may help prevent development of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Colorimetric biochemical and histochemical techniques were used to demonstrate RPE acid lipase in situ, in vitro, and after challenge with phagocytic stimuli. Receptor-mediated RPE uptake of fluorescently labeled native, aceto-acetylated, and oxidized LDL was studied in vitro and in vivo. LDL effects on RPE lysosomal enzymes were assessed. Lysosomal enzyme activity was compared in RPE cells from monkeys fed diets rich in fish oil to those from control animals and in cultured RPE cells exposed to sera from these monkeys. RPE acid lipase activity was substantial and comparable to that of mononuclear phagocytes. Acid lipase activity increased significantly following phagocytic challenge with photoreceptor outer segment (POS) membranes. Receptor-mediated RPE uptake of labeled lipoproteins was determined in vitro. Distinctive uptake of labeled lipoproteins occurred in RPE cells and mononuclear phagocytes in vivo. Native LDL enhanced RPE lysosomal enzyme activity. RPE lysosomal enzymes increased significantly in RPE cells from monkeys fed fish oil-rich diets and in cultured RPE cells exposed to their sera. RPE cells contain substantial acid lipase for efficient metabolism of lipids imbibed by POS phagocytosis and LDL uptake. Diets rich in fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acids, by enhancing acid lipase, may reduce RPE lipofuscin accumulation, RPE oxidative damage, and the development of ARMD.
    Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society 02/2002; 100:301-38.
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    ABSTRACT: Of the different oxygenated cholesterol metabolites, 7-ketocholesterol (7KCh) is considered a noxious oxy-sterol implicated in the development of certain pathologies, including those found in the eye. Here we elucidated whether sterol 27-hydroxylase cytochrome P450 27A1 (CYP27A1) is involved in elimination of 7KCh from the posterior part of the eye: the neural retina and underlying retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). We first established that the affinities of purified recombinant CYP27A1 for 7KCh and its endogenous substrate cholesterol are similar, yet 7KCh is metabolized at a 4-fold higher rate than cholesterol in the reconstituted system in vitro. Lipid extracts from bovine neural retina and RPE were then analyzed by isotope dilution GC-MS for the presence of the 7KCh-derived oxysterols. Two metabolites, 3β,27-dihydroxy-5-cholesten-7-one (7KCh-27OH) and 3β-hydroxy-5-cholesten-7-one-26-oic acid (7KCh-27COOH), were detected in the RPE but not in the neural retina. 7KCh-27OH was also formed when RPE homogenates were supplemented with NADPH and the mitochondrial redox system. Quantifications in human RPE showed that CYP27A1 is indeed expressed in the RPE at 2-4-fold higher levels than in the neural retina. The data obtained represent evidence for the role of CYP27A1 in retinal metabolism of 7KCh and suggest that, in addition to cholesterol removal, the functions of this enzyme could also include elimination of toxic endogenous compounds.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 03/2011; 52(6):1117-27. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) ages, a number of structural changes occur, including loss of melanin granules, increase in the density of residual bodies, accumulation of lipofuscin, accumulation of basal deposits on or within Bruch's membrane, formation of drusen (between the basal lamina of the RPE and the inner collagenous layer of Bruch's membrane), thickening of Bruch's membrane, microvilli atrophy and disorganization of the basal infoldings. Although these changes are well known, the basic mechanisms involved in them are frequently poorly understood. These age-related changes progress slowly and vary in severity in different individuals. These changes are also found in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a late onset disease that severely impacts the RPE, but they are much more pronounced than during normal aging. However, the changes in AMD lead to severe loss of vision. Given the many supporting functions which the RPE serves for the retina, it is important to decipher the age-related changes in this epithelium in order to understand age-related changes in vision.
    Clinical ophthalmology (Auckland, N.Z.) 07/2008; 2(2):413-24.


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