• A. LommatzschEmail author
  • S. Wasmuth
  • D. Pauleikhoff
  • F. G. Holz
  • A. C. Bird


The basal membrane of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is limited by Bruch’s membrane and the adjacent layer of the choroid, which is rich in capillaries. At the apical side the microvilli of the RPE are in close contact to the photoreceptor outer segment. There is a complicated metabolic exchange between the retina and choroid with the RPE as key player. In the recycling of pigment during the visual cycle, the shed discs of the photoreceptor outer segments are phagocytosed by the RPE cells. While the final metabolic products are directed to the choroid, the RPE also regulates the nutritional supply and the extracellular ionic microenvironment of the photoreceptors. The resulting osmotic depression contributes to retinal adhesion to the RPE and can thereby anticipate retinal detachment. The production and directed secretion of different growth factors contribute to the maintenance of the functional unit composed of the photoreceptors, RPE cell layer and choroid.


Retinal Pigment Epithelium Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cell Geographic Atrophy Photoreceptor Outer Segment Normal Ageing Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lommatzsch
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Wasmuth
    • 2
  • D. Pauleikhoff
    • 1
  • F. G. Holz
    • 3
  • A. C. Bird
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologySt. Franziskus HospitalMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Ophtha-Lab, Department of OphthalmologySt. Franziskus HospitalMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  4. 4.Department of OphthalmologyMoorfields Eye HospitalLondonUK

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