June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Spectral Analysis of Human Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells in Healthy and AMD Affected Eyes
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Leonie Bourauel
    Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Marc Vaisband
    Institute of Life & Medical Sciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
    Department of Internal Medicine III with Haematology, Medical Oncology, Haemostaseology, Infectiology and Rheumatology, Oncologic Center; Salzburg Cancer Research Institute - Laboratory for Immunological and Molecular Cancer Research (SCRI-LIMCR); Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
  • Leon Alexander von der Emde
    Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Katharina Bermond
    Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwigshafen Hospital, Ludwigshafen, Germany
  • Ioana Sandra Tarau
    Department of Ophthalmology, Asklepios Klinik Nord-Heidberg, Hamburg, Germany
  • Marlene Sassmannshausen
    Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Rainer Heintzmann
    Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Jena, Germany
    Institute of Physical Chemistry and Abbe Center of Photonics, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany
  • Frank G Holz
    Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Christine A Curcio
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, Alabama, United States
  • Jan Hasenauer
    Institute of Life & Medical Sciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Thomas Ach
    Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Leonie Bourauel None; Marc Vaisband None; Leon von der Emde None; Katharina Bermond None; Ioana Tarau Alimera, Novartis, Code C (Consultant/Contractor); Marlene Sassmannshausen Heidelberg Engineering, CenterVue, Carl Zeiss MedicTec, Code F (Financial Support); Rainer Heintzmann Zeiss, Code C (Consultant/Contractor), Zeiss, Code F (Financial Support); Frank Holz Acucela, Apellis, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bioeq/Formycon, Roche/Genentech, Geuder, Graybug, Gyroscope, Heidelberg Engineering, IvericBio, Kanghong, LinBioscience, Novartis, Oxurion, Pixium Vision, Stealth BioTherapeutics, Zeiss, Code C (Consultant/Contractor), Acucela, Allergan, Apellis, Bayer, Bioeq/Formycon, CenterVue, Ellex, Roche/Genentech, Geuder, Heidelberg Engineering, IvericBio, Kanghong, NightStarX, Novartis, Optos, Pixium Vision, Zeiss, Code F (Financial Support); Christine Curcio Genentech, Heidelberg Engineering, Regeneron, Code F (Financial Support), MacRegen Inc., Code I (Personal Financial Interest); Jan Hasenauer None; Thomas Ach Roche, Novartis, Code C (Consultant/Contractor), MacRegen Inc., Code I (Personal Financial Interest), Novartis, Code R (Recipient)
  • Footnotes
    Support  Dr. Werner Jackstädt Foundation (TA), NIH/NEI 1R01EY027948 (TA, RH, CAC), 1R01EY06109 (CAC), Gerok Research Grant BONFOR O-137.0030 (MS)
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 4621 – F0413. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Leonie Bourauel, Marc Vaisband, Leon Alexander von der Emde, Katharina Bermond, Ioana Sandra Tarau, Marlene Sassmannshausen, Rainer Heintzmann, Frank G Holz, Christine A Curcio, Jan Hasenauer, Thomas Ach; Spectral Analysis of Human Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells in Healthy and AMD Affected Eyes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):4621 – F0413.

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

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Purpose : Individual retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells host hundreds of granules with AF properties (PMID: 32433758). Here, we characterized RPE cells in healthy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affected eyes by their AF spectra and correlate individual wavelengths with the amount of autofluorescent granules (lipofuscin, melanolipofuscin) per RPE cell body (RPECB).

Methods : Twenty-two RPE flat mounts of human donor eyes (7 AMD-affected (3 early AMD, 1 geographic atrophy, 3 neovascular) and 15 w/ unaffected macula (8<51 yrs; 7>80 yrs)) were imaged at three locations (fovea, perifovea, near periphery) using en face confocal AF (exc. 488 nm) and high-resolution structured illumination microscopy. Up to 110 cells/location/eye were marked manually and emission spectra were extracted (490-695 nm; 8.9 nm spectral channel width) from a projection image of each cell and stratified by disease status and location. Granules/cell were manually quantified and classified with computer-assistance. Mixed linear models were used to correlate spectra with the number of intracellular granules.

Results : Spectra of 5.549 RPE cells (<51yrs: 2.353, >80yrs: 2.053, AMD: 1.143) were included. Spectra of healthy cells showed similar emission spectral curves that peaked at 580 nm for the fovea and perifovea and between 575 and 580 nm for the near periphery. Compared to healthy, AMD spectral curves showed a 10 nm-shift towards shorter wavelengths (further statistical analysis in progress). The effect was strongest for the fovea and perifovea. Spectral curves at the perifovea appeared to be flattened at nAMD stage. Mixed linear models showed no statistically significant differences between the coefficients for wavelengths and granule load.

Conclusions : With the help of different microscopy techniques, identification of cellular (spectral AF) and subcellular (granules) properties of RPE cells allow to distinguish healthy from diseased RPE, especially at fovea and perifovea, areas highly impacted by AMD related sub-RPE deposits A spectral shift in AMD in this large series of RPE cells confirms earlier microscopy findings (PMID: 12091448) from tissue cross sections. Future studies will examine the impact of individual granule spectra on the total RPE spectrum. Overall, our results will help to interpret the RPE's AF in studies using in vivo single cell imaging.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.


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