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Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Mar;12(2):490-508. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2012.11.002. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

The eye as a model of ageing in translational research--molecular, epigenetic and clinical aspects.

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  • 1International Centre for Eye Health, Dept. of Clinical Research, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.


The eye and visual system are valuable in many areas of translational research such as stem cell therapy, transplantation research and gene therapy. Changes in many ocular tissues can be measured directly, easily and objectively in vivo (e.g. lens transparency; retinal blood vessel calibre; corneal endothelial cell counts) and so the eye may also be a uniquely useful site as a model of ageing. This review details cellular, molecular and epigenetic mechanisms related to ageing within the eye, and describes ocular parameters that can be directly measured clinically and which might be of value in ageing research as the translational "window to the rest of the body". The eye is likely to provide a valuable model for validating biomarkers of ageing at molecular, epigenetic, cellular and clinical levels. A research agenda to definitively establish the relationship between biomarkers of ageing and ocular parameters is proposed.

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