Evidence of melanogenesis in porcine retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro

Exp Eye Res. 1990 Jan;50(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/0014-4835(90)90003-d.


Several weeks after porcine retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell cultures attain confluence, macroscopically visible brown foci appear. The cuboidal cells that form the foci contain numerous phase dark granules that do not exhibit the autofluorescence characteristic of lipofuscin. The data described here indicate that the granules are melanosomes. Electron microscopy revealed three types of electron-dense granules in these cells: simple spheres 0.3-0.5 microns in diameter, large spheres 1-2 microns in diameter, and lysosomal aggregations of the smaller spheres. The matrix of both spheres is composed of 40-nm microvesicles that were also found free in the cytoplasm and aggregated within vacuolar structures. Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography of RPE cells and their media detected melanogens, i.e. intermediates of melanin biosynthesis, including several indole derivatives. The porcine RPE cultures therefore may be a useful system for studying melanogenic regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Melanocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism*
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / ultrastructure*
  • Swine


  • Melanins