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Mitochondrial abnormalities in ageing macular photoreceptors

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martin Barron, Dr Margaret Johnson, Dr Richard Andrews, Michael Clarke, Philip Griffiths, Dr Langping He, Dr Steve Durham, Emeritus Professor Doug Turnbull


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PURPOSE. To evaluate somatic mitochondrial (mt)DNA mutations in the macula during ageing. METHODS. Ten 30-μm cryostat sections from the macula (foveal and perifoveal regions) and peripheral retina of 14 donors (aged 14-94 years) were cut for cytochrome c oxidase cytochemistry. The photoreceptor layer was microdissected and DNA extracted for 4977-bp mtDNA (mtDNA4977) quantification using PCR. Dual cytochemistry for cytochrome c oxidase and succinate dehydrogenase allowed the detection of cytochrome c oxidase-deficient cones. RESULTS. Findings showed a progressive accumulation of mtDNA4977 from ages 14 to 94 years. From ages 14 to 60 years there was an increase from 0.006% to 0.25%, and from ages 60 to 94 years there was a steeper increase from 0.25% to 5.39%. Counts of cones in the dual-reacted preparations showed more cytochrome c oxidase-deficient cones in the foveal region than elsewhere. CONCLUSIONS. The results show that mitochondrial DNA deletions and cytochrome c oxidase-deficient cones accumulate in the ageing retina, particularly in the foveal region. These defects may contribute to the changes in macular function observed in ageing and age-related maculopathy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarke MP; Barron MJ; Andrews RM; Durham S; Johnson MA; Turnbull DM; Griffiths PG; Bristow E; He L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Year: 2001

Volume: 42

Issue: 12

Pages: 3016-3022

Print publication date: 01/01/2001

ISSN (print): 0146-0404

ISSN (electronic): 1552-5783

Publisher: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology


PubMed id: 11687550