Ageing disorders can be defined as the progressive and cumulative outcome of several defective cellular mechanisms as well as metabolic pathways, consequently resulting in degeneration. Environment plays an important role in its pathogenesis. In contrast, developmental disorders arise from inherited mutations and usually the role of environmental factors in development of disease is minimal. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is one such retinal degenerative disorder which starts with the progression of age. Metabolism plays an important role in initiation of such diseases of ageing. Cholesterol metabolism and their oxidized products like 7-ketocholesterol have been shown to adversely impact retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. These molecules can initiate mitochondrial apoptotic processes and also influence the complements factors and expression of angiogenic proteins like VEGF etc. In this review we highlight why and how AMD is an ageing disorder and not a developmental disease substantiated by disrupted cholesterol metabolism common to several age related diseases.
Keywords: 7-ketocholesterol; VEGF; age related macular degeneration; angiogenic proteins; complement factors; degenerative diseases; developmental disorders; metabolism.