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Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2008 Jun;225(6):548-54. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-963760.

[Pathomechanisms for aging of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and prophylactic therapy options in regard to AMD].

[Article in German]

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Augenklinik der Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg.


An intact retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) represents an essential condition for the visual process. This post-mitotic RPE monolayer combines different functions such as degradation of photoreceptor outer segments, vitamin A cycle, support of retinal metabolism and maintenance of the outer blood-retina barrier. As a consequence of excessive metabolism, high oxygen levels, exposition to light of short wave length and ensuing radical formation, the RPE is highly dependent on protective systems. In spite of differentiated defence mechanisms, aging processes cause cumulative RPE damage, representing a major component of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible severe vision loss in people over 50 years old. A better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology will help to develop new prophylactic options which is becoming more and more important with increasing life expectancy.

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