Aging, age-related macular degeneration, and the response-to-retention of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins

Christine A. Curcio*, Mark Johnson, Jiahn Dar Huang, Martin Rudolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


The largest risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is advanced age. A prominent age-related change in the human retina is the accumulation of histochemically detectable neutral lipid in normal Bruch's membrane (BrM) throughout adulthood. This change has the potential to have a major impact on physiology of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). It occurs in the same compartment as drusen and basal linear deposit, the pathognomonic extracellular, lipid-containing lesions of ARMD. Here we present evidence from light microscopic histochemistry, ultrastructure, lipid profiling of tissues and isolated lipoproteins, and gene expression analysis that this deposition can be accounted for by esterified cholesterol-rich, apolipoprotein B-containing lipoprotein particles constitutively produced by the RPE. This work collectively allows ARMD lesion formation and its aftermath to be conceptualized as a response to the retention of a sub-endothelial apolipoprotein B lipoprotein, similar to a widely accepted model of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD) (Tabas et al., 2007). This approach provides a wide knowledge base and sophisticated clinical armamentarium that can be readily exploited for the development of new model systems and the future benefit of ARMD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-422
Number of pages30
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Apolipoprotein B
  • Basal deposits
  • Bruch's membrane
  • Cholesterol
  • Drusen
  • Lipoproteins
  • Retinal pigment epithelium
  • Retinyl ester

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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