Modulating antioxidant systems as a therapeutic approach to retinal degeneration

Redox Biol. 2022 Oct 17;57:102510. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2022.102510. Online ahead of print.


The human retina is facing a big challenge of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from endogenous and exogenous sources. Excessive ROS can cause damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins, triggering abnormal redox signaling, and ultimately lead to cell death. Thus, oxidative stress has been observed in inherited retinal diseases as a common hallmark. To counteract the detrimental effect of ROS, cells are equipped with various antioxidant defenses. In this review, we will focus on the antioxidant systems in the retina and how they can protect retina from oxidative stress. Both small antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes play a role in ROS removal. Particularly, the thioredoxin and glutaredoxin systems, as the major antioxidant systems in mammalian cells, exert functions in redox signaling regulation via modifying cysteines in proteins. In addition, the thioredoxin-like rod-derived cone viability factor (RdCVFL) and thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP) can modulate metabolism in photoreceptors and promote their survival. In conclusion, elevating the antioxidant capacity in retina is a promising therapy to curb the progress of inherited retinal degeneration.

Keywords: Antioxidant enzymes; Gene therapy; Oxidative stress; Retinal Degeneration; Rod-derived cone viability factor; Thioredoxin-interacting protein.

Publication types

  • Review