Aging of the Retinal Pigmented Epithelium

  • Carlo A. P. Cavallotti
  • Marcus Schveoller
Part of the Aging Medicine book series (AGME)


The age-related changes of the human retinal pigmented epithelium cells are listed here. These cells play an important role in nutrition of all retinal cells. Changes in cellular density, granules of lipofuscine, granules of melanin, and complex granule s were found. In our laboratories, eight samples of the human retina (including retinal pigmented epithelium) of young individuals and 16 retinas of older subjects were used for our experiments. These samples were studied with:
  • Light microscopy for the detection of microanatomical details

  • Histo-chemical techniques for the dye of the lipids

  • Transmission electron microscopy for the detection of the ultra-structural findings

Our results, comparing retinal pigmented epithelium of subjects 21-years old with those of subjects 75-years old, demonstrate a(n):
  • Strong depigmentation in old subjects

  • Strong increase of intracytoplasmic residual bodies

  • Strong increase of total lipids

  • Decrease of phospholipids and neutral esters fatty acids

  • Increase of electron density of the sub-cellular structures due to the increase of pigment granules

All results demonstrate that the retinal pigmented epithelium of human eye undergoes specific age related changes.


aging human eye RPE de-pigmentation lipids electron-density lipofuscine 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo A. P. Cavallotti
    • 1
  • Marcus Schveoller
    • 2
  1. 1.European Ophthalmic Neuroscience Program (Local Research Unit)University of Rome “La Sapienza,”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Ophthalmology, European Ophthalmic Neuroscience ProgramUniversity of PécsPécsHungary

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