July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
A Mitochondrial Response to Oxidative Stress in RPE from AMD donors
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Cody R Fisher
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • Mara Ebeling
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • Sandra Rocio Montezuma
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • Deb A Ferrington
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Cody Fisher, None; Mara Ebeling, None; Sandra Montezuma, None; Deb Ferrington, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH/NEI RO1-EY028554. NIA T32 AG029796. VitreoRetinal Surgery Research Fellowship Grant.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 4892. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Cody R Fisher, Mara Ebeling, Sandra Rocio Montezuma, Deb A Ferrington; A Mitochondrial Response to Oxidative Stress in RPE from AMD donors. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):4892.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is characterized by the death of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), likely a result of increased oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. In the highly oxidative environment of the retina, understanding why damaged mitochondria accumulate in the RPE with AMD is critical. The purpose of this study is to determine if RPE are unable to maintain a healthy population of mitochondria under oxidative stress, leading to the accumulation of mitochondrial damage observed with AMD.

Methods : Primary RPE cultures developed from donors without AMD (n=12) and with AMD (n=15) were treated with 300µM hydrogen peroxide for 6 or 24 hours. Genes and proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis (AMPK, PGC1α), maintenance (TFAM, VDAC), mitochondrial fusion/fission (FIS1, OPA1), and mitophagy (PINK1, PARKIN) were measured using qPCR and western blots. Data was analyzed using a 2-way ANOVA with Fisher’s LSD post-hoc.

Results : Peroxide treatment induced similar responses in both healthy and AMD RPE. There was a sharp decline in AMPK mRNA at both 6 (p<0.001) and 24 hours (p<0.001), while VDAC (p=0.024) and FIS1 (p=0.002) increased at 6 hours post-peroxide. The active OPA1 (OPA1-L) protein content decreased and the inactive product (OPA1-S) increased after 6 (p=0.04) and 24 hours (p=0.027) peroxide treatment. When comparing disease state, FIS1 mRNA levels are higher in AMD donors relative to No AMD donors (p=0.014). Furthermore, we observed increased AMPK protein in AMD donors (p=0.028).

Conclusions : These results suggest peroxide treatment induces mitochondrial fission while inhibiting mitochondrial fusion and biogenesis. While both No AMD and AMD cells have similar response to peroxide, they differ in their expression of FIS1 and production of AMPK, suggesting possible defects in mitochondrial homeostasis.

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.


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