Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 75, Issue 16, pp 2991–3008 | Cite as

Mitochondrial quality control in AMD: does mitophagy play a pivotal role?

  • Juha M. T. Hyttinen
  • Johanna Viiri
  • Kai Kaarniranta
  • Janusz Błasiak


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the predominant cause of visual loss in old people in the developed world, whose incidence is increasing. This disease is caused by the decrease in macular function, due to the degeneration of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. The aged retina is characterised by increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), impaired autophagy, and DNA damage that are linked to AMD pathogenesis. Mitophagy, a mitochondria-specific type of autophagy, is an essential part of mitochondrial quality control, the collective mechanism responsible for this organelle’s homeostasis. The abundance of ROS, DNA damage, and the excessive energy consumption in the ageing retina all contribute to the degeneration of RPE cells and their mitochondria. We discuss the role of mitophagy in the cell and argue that its impairment may play a role in AMD pathogenesis. Thus, mitophagy as a potential therapeutic target in AMD and other degenerative diseases is as well explored.


Cell senescence Mitochondrial DNA damage Nrf2/PGC-1α axis Oxidative damage Ubiquitin 



Activating molecule in beclin-1-regulated autophagy


Age-related macular degeneration


AMP-activated protein kinase


Antioxidant-binding element


Autophagy-related gene


Divalent metal transporter 1


Endoplasmic reticulum


Ferroportin 1


Flavoprotein fluorescence


Mitochondrial ferritin


Glycoprotein 78


Histone deacetylase 6


Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α


Heat-shock protein


Inner mitochondrial membrane


Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1


MAPK1LC3-interacting region


Mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum membrane


Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Microtubule-associated protein 1 light-chain 3




Mitochondrial membrane potential


Mitochondrial permeability transition


Mitochondrial respiratory chain


Mitochondrial DNA


Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1


Mitochondrial E3 ubiquitin ligase


Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2


Outer mitochondrial membrane


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α




Phosphatase and tensin homologue-induced putative kinase


Photoreceptor outer segment


Reactive oxygen species


Retinal ganglion cell


Retinal pigment epithelium


Senescence-associated mitochondrial dysfunction


Senescent-associated secretory phenotype


NAD-dependent deacetylase Sirtuin 1


SMAD-specific E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1


Superoxide dismutase




Mitochondrial transcription factor A


Translocase of the inner mitochondrial membrane


Translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane




Voltage-dependent anion channel


Vascular endothelial growth factor



The authors thank Mr. Thomas Dunlop for checking the language of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyKuopio University HospitalKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Department of Molecular GeneticsUniversity of ŁódźŁódźPoland

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