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Prog Retin Eye Res. 2013 Jan;32:48-63. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

New insights into retinoid metabolism and cycling within the retina.

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Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


The retinoid cycle is a series of biochemical reactions within the eye that is responsible for synthesizing the chromophore, 11-cis retinal, for visual function. The chromophore is bound to G-protein coupled receptors, opsins, within rod and cone photoreceptor cells forming the photosensitive visual pigments. Integral to the sustained function of photoreceptors is the continuous generation of chromophore by the retinoid cycle through two separate processes, one that supplies both rods and cones and another that exclusively supplies cones. Recent findings such as RPE65 localization within cones and the pattern of distribution of retinoid metabolites within mouse and human retinas have challenged previous proposed schemes. This review will focus on recent findings regarding the transport of retinoids, the mechanisms by which chromophore is supplied to both rods and cones, and the metabolism of retinoids within the posterior segment of the eye.

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