Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP): The Role of Oxidative Stress in the Degenerative Process Progression

Biomedicines. 2022 Mar 2;10(3):582. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10030582.


Purpose: Retinitis Pigmentosa is a term that includes a group of inherited bilateral and progressive retinal degenerations, with the involvement of rod photoreceptors, which frequently leads to blindness; oxidative stress may be involved in the degeneration progression as proposed by several recent studies. The goal of this study is to evaluate whether circulating free radicals taken from capillary blood are related to one of the most important features of Retinitis pigmentosa that can affect frequently patients: cystoid macular oedema (CME). Materials: A total of 186 patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa (range: 25−69 years) were enrolled; all patients completed an ophthalmologic examination and SD-OCT at baseline and were divided into three subgroups according to the SD-OCT features. ROS blood levels were determined using FORT with monitoring of free oxygen radicals. Results: Test levels of free oxygen radicals were significantly increased, almost twice, in RP patients showing cystoid macular oedema and significantly increased compared to the control group. (p < 0.001). Discussion: Our findings suggest that oxidative stress may speed cone photoreceptors’ morphological damage (CMT); because long lasting oxidative stress in the RP may cause oxidative damage, with animal models of RP suggesting this is a micromolecular mechanism of photoreceptors’ (cone) death, it can be similar to cone damage in human RP eyes. The limitations of this paper are the relatively small sample, the horizontal design of the study, and the lack of data about the levels of ROS in the vitreous body.

Keywords: circulation; oxidative stress; retina; retinitis pigmentosa.