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Age-related changes in retina linked to decline in 'youth' protein


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Loss of the protein pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), which protects retinal support cells, may drive age-related changes in the retina.

'PEDF is the ‘youth’ protein, because it is abundant in young retinas, but it declines during aging' said Patricia Becerra, chief and senior author.

PEDF protects retinal cells, preventing both damage to the cells and abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina.

Retinal role of PEDF was studied in a mouse model that lacks the PEDF gene (Serpin1).

RPE cell nuclei were enlarged, which may indicate changes in how the cells’ DNA is packed.

Four genes associated with aging and cellular senescence were turned on, and levels of the PEDF receptor were significantly below normal.

Unprocessed lipids and other photoreceptor outer segment components had accumulated in the RPE layer of the retina, similar to the aging retina.

'Some sort of feedback-loop involving PEDF maintains the levels of PEDF-R and lipid metabolism in the RPE." said Ivan Rebustini, the study’s lead author.

A study conducted at National Eye Institute (NEI) published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Aging associated retinal disorders linked to loss of protective protein

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Scientific journal covering research in chemistry, molecular physics, and molecular biology.


Staff scientist at the National Eye Institute


Performs and supports vision research and education programs


Senior Investigator at the National Eye Institute