Autophagy in the retina: A potential role in age-related macular degeneration

Sayak K. Mitter, Haripriya Vittal Rao, Xiaoping Qi, Jun Cai, Andrew Sugrue, William A. Dunn, Maria B. Grant, Michael E. Boulton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

82 Scopus citations


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is associated with multiple genetic and cellular defects which lead to a common endpoint, retinal degeneration. Aging and oxidative stress, significant features in the pathogenesis of AMD, are associated with an increase in damaged intracellular organelles and defective autophagy flux in a range of age-related and neurodegenerative diseases. Autophagy is a key process in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis that serves to remove dysfunctional organelles and proteins. Autophagy proteins are strongly expressed in the retina and there is now strong evidence that mitochondrial damage and defective autophagy are a feature of the aging retina and that this is further exacerbated in AMD. It is apparent that autophagy makes a significant contribution to lipofuscin accumulation in the RPE. Pharmacological manipulation of autophagy may offer an alternative therapeutic target in AMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRetinal Degenerative Diseases
EditorsMatthew LaVail, Robert Anderson, Christian Grimm, John Ash, Joe Hollyfield
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jan 23 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


  • Age-Related Macular -Degeneration
  • Autophagy
  • Lipofuscin
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative Damage
  • Retina
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Mitter, S. K., Rao, H. V., Qi, X., Cai, J., Sugrue, A., Dunn, W. A., Grant, M. B., & Boulton, M. E. (2012). Autophagy in the retina: A potential role in age-related macular degeneration. In M. LaVail, R. Anderson, C. Grimm, J. Ash, & J. Hollyfield (Eds.), Retinal Degenerative Diseases (pp. 83-90). (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; Vol. 723).