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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2004 Aug;3(8):759-64. Epub 2004 Jul 6.

The photoreactivity of ocular lipofuscin.

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School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


Lipofuscin or "age pigment" is a lipid-protein complex which accumulates in a variety of postmitotic, metabolically active cells throughout the body. These complexes, which are thought to result from the incomplete degradation of oxidised substrate, have the potential for photoreactivity. This is particularly so in the retina in which the lipofuscin not only contains retinoid metabolites but is also exposed to high oxygen and fluxes of visible light all of which provide an ideal environment for the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Lipofuscin is a potent photoinducible generator of ROS with the potential to damage proteins, lipids and DNA. Retinal cell dysfunction may be strongly associated with photoreactivity of lipofuscin and may contribute to age-related disease and vision loss.

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