Lipofuscin autofluorescence: evidence for vitamin A involvement in the retina.

Mechanisms of ageing and development

PubMedID: 3613689

Katz ML, Eldred GE, Robison WG. Lipofuscin autofluorescence: evidence for vitamin A involvement in the retina. Mech Ageing Dev. 1987;39(1):81-90.
A lipofuscin-like autofluorescence develops in the degenerating photoreceptor cells of the RCS rat, a strain with inherited retinal dystrophy. In animals with normal retinas, age-related lipofuscin accumulation in the eye is restricted to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Previous investigations have established that RPE lipofuscin accumulation in the normal rat retina can be reduced by dietary vitamin A deficiency. In order to determine whether the photoreceptor-derived fluorescence in the RCS rat retina is related to RPE lipofuscin fluorescence, the influence of dietary vitamin A on the fluorophore content of the RCS rat retina was studied. Vitamin A deficiency substantially reduced the autofluorescence associated with degenerating photoreceptor cells of the RCS rat retina. A specific vitamin A-dependent fluorophore was isolated from these retinas using thin-layer chromatography (TLC). The mobility of this fluorophore on TLC differs from that of the major age-dependent fluorophore isolated from the RPE of normal rats. Thus, if the vitamin A-dependent fluorophores of the photoreceptors and RPE are related, it appears that the fluorophore generated in the photoreceptor cells must undergo chemical modification once it has been taken up by the RPE. The fact that both the RPE- and photoreceptor-associated fluorophores are vitamin A-dependent suggests that such a relationship between them is likely. These experiments indicate that the RPE is somewhat different from other lipofuscin-accumulating tissues in that a major precursor of RPE lipofuscin fluorophores originates in another cell type and enters the RPE via phagocytosis.