Retinal Degeneration and Cellular Suicide

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 723)


Retinal degenerative diseases are a heterogeneous group of dystrophies defined by progressive loss of vision due to photoreceptor cell death. They are caused by genetic mutation, nutrient deprivation, oxidative stress, or inflammation. A common thread among these conditions is the activation of programmed cell death (PCD) during the disease process. Although PCD is vital for the proper development and maintenance of the retina, the inappropriate activation of cellular suicide pathways upsets the balance of death/life signals within a cell and can ultimately lead to the untimely death of sensitive cells such as photoreceptors. The goal of many researchers is to reestablish this balance through the removal of PCD triggers or blocking of PCD pathways. We will examine gene therapy approaches that directly target PCD pathways and some successes in protecting the retina from degeneration.


Apoptosis Autophagy Retinitis pigmentosa XIAP Retinal ­degeneration Programmed cell death Retina 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ottawa Hospital Research InstituteOttawa General HospitalOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Cellular and Molecular MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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