Retinal pigment epithelium lipid metabolic demands and therapeutic restoration

Taiwan J Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug 28;11(3):216-220. doi: 10.4103/tjo.tjo_31_21. eCollection 2021 Jul-Sep.


One of the defining features of the retina is the tight metabolic coupling between cells such as photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). This necessitates the compartmentalization and proper substrate availability required for specialized processes such as photo-transduction. Glucose metabolism is preferential in many human cell types for adenosine triphosphate generation, yet fatty acid β-oxidation generates essential fuel for RPE. Here, we provide a brief overview of metabolic demands in both the healthy and dystrophic RPE with an emphasis on fatty acid oxidation. We outline therapies aimed at renormalizing this metabolism and explore future avenues for therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: Beta-oxidation; fatty acids; gene therapy; metabolic coupling; metabolism; mitochondria; retina; retinal pigment epithelium.

Publication types

  • Review