The Cytoskeleton of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium: from Normal Aging to Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Academic Article


  • The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a unique epithelium, with major roles which are essential in the visual cycle and homeostasis of the outer retina. The RPE is a monolayer of polygonal and pigmented cells strategically placed between the neuroretina and Bruch membrane, adjacent to the fenestrated capillaries of the choriocapillaris. It shows strong apical (towards photoreceptors) to basal/basolateral (towards Bruch membrane) polarization. Multiple functions are bound to a complex structure of highly organized and polarized intracellular components: the cytoskeleton. A strong connection between the intracellular cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix is indispensable to maintaining the function of the RPE and thus, the photoreceptors. Impairments of these intracellular structures and the regular architecture they maintain often result in a disrupted cytoskeleton, which can be found in many retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This review article will give an overview of current knowledge on the molecules and proteins involved in cytoskeleton formation in cells, including RPE and how the cytoskeleton is affected under stress conditions—especially in AMD.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 7849969
  • Author List

  • Tarau IS; Berlin A; Curcio CA; Ach T
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 14