Purpose: The retina has enormous lipids demands and must meet those needs. Retinal lipid homeostasis appears to be based on the symbiosis between neurons, Müller glial cells (MGC), and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, which can be impacted in several retinal diseases. The current research challenge is to better understand lipid-related mechanisms involved in retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma.
Results: In a first axis, in vitro and focus on Müller glial cell, we aimed to characterize whether the 24S-hydroxycholesterol (24S-OHC), an overexpressed end-product of cholesterol elimination pathway in neural tissue and likely produced by suffering retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma, may modulate MGC membrane organization, such as lipid rafts, to trigger cellular signalling pathways related to retinal gliosis. We have found that lipid composition appears to be a key factor of membrane architecture, especially for lipid raft microdomain formation, in MGC. However, 24S-OHC did not appear to trigger retinal gliosis via the modulation of lipid or protein composition within lipid rafts microdomains. This study provided a better understanding of the complex mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of glaucoma. On a second clinical ax, we focused on the lipid-related mechanisms involved in the dysfunction of aging RPE and the appearance of drusenoid deposits in AMD. Using the Montrachet population-based study, we intend to report the frequency of reticular pseudodrusen (RPD) and its ocular and systemic risk factors, particularly related to lipid metabolisms, such as plasma lipoprotein levels, carotenoids levels, and lipid-lowering drug intake. Our study showed that RPD was less common in subjects taking lipid-lowering drugs. Lipid-lowering drugs, such as statins, may reduce the risk of RPD through their effect on the production and function of lipoproteins. This observation highlights the potential role of retinal lipid trafficking via lipoproteins between photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium cells in RPD formation. Those findings have been complemented with preliminary results on the analysis of plasma fatty acid (FA) profile, a surrogate marker of short-term dietary lipid intake, according to the type of predominant drusenoid deposit, soft drusen or RPD, in age-related maculopathy.
Conclusion: Further research on lipid metabolism in retinal diseases is warranted to better understand the pathophysiology of retinal diseases and develop new promising diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools for our patients.
Keywords: Müller glial cell; age-related macular degeneration; cholesterol; glaucoma; lipid raft; lipids; lipoprotein; omega 3; polyunsaturated fatty acids; retinal gliosis; retinal pigment epithelium.
© 2022 Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica Foundation. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.