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J Herbert, T Cavallaro, R Martone; The distribution of retinol-binding protein and its mRNA in the rat eye.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1991;32(2):302-309.
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Although a constant supply of retinol is a critical requirement for the visual cycle, the molecular mechanisms underlying retinol delivery, uptake, storage, and transport in the eye are not well understood. Previously the synthesis of serum retinol-binding protein (RBP) in the mammalian eye was reported. Now the distribution of RBP and RBP mRNA in the rat eye has been studied by immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization techniques has been studied. The RBP mRNA was present only in the cytoplasm of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, terminating abruptly at the pars plana. On the other hand, RBP immunoreactivity was more widespread. The most intense immunostaining was present in retinal ganglion cells, the corneal endothelium, and under certain conditions of tissue fixation, the corneal epithelium. Consistent but less intense immunoreactivity was detected in the photoreceptors, Müller cells, inner plexiform layer, ciliary epithelium and stroma, iris epithelium, retinal pigment epithelium, lacrimal glandular epithelium, and periorbital soft tissues. These findings suggest that RBP synthesized by the RPE may be secreted to various ocular locations. However, at present, uptake from plasma cannot be excluded as another possible source of ocular RBP. In the plasma, holo-RBP (the retinol-RBP complex) is transported in complex with another plasma protein, transthyretin (TTR). This substance is also synthesized by the RPE and its distribution in the eye is similar to that described for RBP. Taken together, these findings support the proposal that ocular RBP and TTR may function cooperatively in the intraocular translocation of retinol.
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