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Jost Hillenkamp, Ali A. Hussain, Timothy L. Jackson, Paul A. Constable, Joanna R. Cunningham, John Marshall; Compartmental Analysis of Taurine Transport to the Outer Retina in the Bovine Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(11):4099-4105. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0624.
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purpose. To assess the relative resistance presented individually by Bruch’s membrane-choroid (BC) and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) to movement of taurine between the choroidal circulation and the outer retina. To quantify the effect of light-evoked changes in subretinal potassium concentration on the transepithelial transport of taurine across bovine RPE.
methods. Transport studies were performed in Ussing chambers with intact and RPE-denuded specimens of BC. RPE viability was monitored by recording transepithelial potential (TEP) and transepithelial resistance (TER). Taurine transport with substrate concentrations in the micro- and millimolar range, reflecting physiological taurine concentrations in plasma, retina, and subretinal space was quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and radiotracer techniques. Taurine transport was also assessed after apical potassium concentration was lowered from 6.0 to 2.2 mM to mimic the effects of light.
results. Transport of taurine across RPE-BC at a 10-mM substrate concentration increased from 32.92 before to 111.72 nanomoles/4 mm per hour after removal of the RPE. Similarly, at 50 μM taurine, transport rates increased from 0.158 to 0.439 nanomoles/4 mm per hour after removal of the RPE. At both high (10 mM) and low (50 μM) substrate concentrations, lowering of apical potassium was associated with decreased transport of taurine across the RPE. For taurine concentrations greater than 42 μM, the rate-limiting compartment for transport of taurine to the outer retina was the RPE monolayer. Similar rates were observed across each compartment for concentrations <42 μM.
conclusions. The magnitude and directionality of taurine transport across the RPE is determined solely by the driving taurine concentration gradient and is modulated by subretinal levels of potassium. Such modulation may provide a mechanism for conserving retinal taurine. Processes that increase the resistance to diffusion across Bruch’s membrane such as human ageing and increased thickening and deposition of debris associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are likely to affect transport across the RPE, culminating in a secondary retinal taurine deficiency.
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