1 February 2004 A2E: A Component of Ocular Lipofuscin
Laura E. Lamb, John D. Simon
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The presence of lipofuscin in postmitotic cells is considered a hallmark of the aging process. In the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), lipofuscin is found as micrometer-sized spherical particles and characterized by its yellow autofluorescence when exposed to blue light. This exposure to light is also known to produce reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI), but the particular molecular constituent(s) responsible for this phototoxicity have yet to be completely identified. Resulting mostly from the autophagocytosis of intracellular organelles, the composition of lipofuscin is poorly defined but known to contain protein, lipids and several fluorophores. The subsequent identification of one of the fluorophores in lipofuscin, A2E, generated much interest and resulted in a variety of studies to understand its potential role in the phototoxicity of lipofuscin. Several modes of toxicity have been suggested through which A2E can affect the health of RPE cells. These modes include photoinduced production of ROI, which places additional oxidative stress on RPE cells, the disruption of membrane integrity through its natural role as an amphiphilic detergent and inhibition of key cellular functions. This article presents the current understanding of the photochemistry of A2E and its involvement as a phototoxic agent in RPE cells.

Laura E. Lamb and John D. Simon "A2E: A Component of Ocular Lipofuscin," Photochemistry and Photobiology 79(2), 127-136, (1 February 2004). https://doi.org/10.1562/0031-8655(2004)079<0127:AACOOL>2.0.CO;2
Received: 18 September 2003; Accepted: 1 November 2004; Published: 1 February 2004

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