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Aging (Albany NY). 2010 Dec;2(12):981-9.

CD36 plays an important role in the clearance of oxLDL and associated age-dependent sub-retinal deposits.

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Department of Pediatrics, Hospitals Ste. Justine and Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) represents the major cause of vision loss in industrialized nations. Laminar deposits in Bruch's membrane (BM) are among the first prominent histopathologic features, along with drusen formation, and have been found to contain oxidized lipids. Increases in concentrations of oxidized LDL (oxLDL) in plasma are observed with age and high fat high (HFHC) cholesterol diet. CD36 is the principal receptor implicated in uptake of oxLDL, and is expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). We determined if CD36 participates in oxLDL uptake in RPE and correspondingly in clearance of sub-retinal deposits. Uptake of oxLDL by RPEin vitro and in vivo was CD36-dependent. CD36 deficiency in mice resulted in age-associated accumulation of oxLDL and sub-retinal BM thickening, despite fed a regular diet. Conversely, treatment of HFHC-fed ApoE null mice with a CD36 agonist, EP80317 (300 μg/kg/day), markedly diminished thickening of BM, and partially preserved (in part) photoreceptor function. In conclusion, our data uncover a new role for CD36 in the clearance of oxidized lipids from BM and in the prevention of age-dependent sub-retinal laminar deposits.

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