Dyslipidemia in retinal metabolic disorders

EMBO Mol Med. 2019 Oct;11(10):e10473. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201910473. Epub 2019 Sep 5.


The light-sensitive photoreceptors in the retina are extremely metabolically demanding and have the highest density of mitochondria of any cell in the body. Both physiological and pathological retinal vascular growth and regression are controlled by photoreceptor energy demands. It is critical to understand the energy demands of photoreceptors and fuel sources supplying them to understand neurovascular diseases. Retinas are very rich in lipids, which are continuously recycled as lipid-rich photoreceptor outer segments are shed and reformed and dietary intake of lipids modulates retinal lipid composition. Lipids (as well as glucose) are fuel substrates for photoreceptor mitochondria. Dyslipidemia contributes to the development and progression of retinal dysfunction in many eye diseases. Here, we review photoreceptor energy demands with a focus on lipid metabolism in retinal neurovascular disorders.

Keywords: FGF21; dyslipidemia; photoreceptor; retinal metabolism; β-oxidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dyslipidemias / complications*
  • Dyslipidemias / pathology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications*
  • Metabolic Diseases / pathology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Retinal Diseases / pathology*