Open Access
Mechanisms of protein aggregation in the retinal pigment epithelial cells
Kai Kaarniranta1,Juha Hyttinen1,Tuomas Ryhanen1,Johanna Viiri1,Tuomas Paimela1,Elisa Toropainen1,Iiris Sorri1,Antero Salminen1
Department of Ophthalmology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland.
DOI: 10.2741/E198 Volume 2 Issue 4, pp.1374-1384
Published: 01 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenetic mechanism of age-related macular degeneration)

The pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) essentially involves chronic oxidative stress, increased accumulation of lipofuscin in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and extracellular drusen formation, as well as the presence of chronic inflammation. The capacity to prevent the accumulation of cellular cytotoxic protein aggregates is decreased in senescent cells which may evoke lipofuscin accumulation into lysosomes in postmitotic RPE cells. This presence of lipofuscin decreases lysosomal enzyme activity and impairs autophagic clearance of damaged proteins which should be removed from cells. Proteasomes are another crucial proteolytic machine which degrade especially cellular proteins damaged by oxidative stress. This review examines the cross-talk between lysosomes, autophagy and proteasomes in RPE cell protein aggregation, their role as a possible therapeutic target and their involvement in the pathogenesis of AMD.

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Kai Kaarniranta, Juha Hyttinen, Tuomas Ryhanen, Johanna Viiri, Tuomas Paimela, Elisa Toropainen, Iiris Sorri, Antero Salminen. Mechanisms of protein aggregation in the retinal pigment epithelial cells. Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite. 2010. 2(4); 1374-1384.