Metabolic Features of Mouse and Human Retinas: Rods versus Cones, Macula versus Periphery, Retina versus RPE

Bo Li, Ting Zhang, Wei Liu, Yekai Wang, Rong Xu, Shaoxue Zeng, Rui Zhang, Siyan Zhu, Mark C. Gillies, Ling Zhu, Jianhai Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Photoreceptors, especially cones, which are enriched in the human macula, have high energy demands, making them vulnerable to metabolic stress. Metabolic dysfunction of photoreceptors and their supporting retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is an important underlying cause of degenerative retinal diseases. However, how cones and the macula support their exorbitant metabolic demand and communicate with RPE is unclear. By profiling metabolite uptake and release and analyzing metabolic genes, we have found cone-rich retinas and human macula share specific metabolic features with upregulated pathways in pyruvate metabolism, mitochondrial TCA cycle, and lipid synthesis. Human neural retina and RPE have distinct but complementary metabolic features. Retinal metabolism centers on NADH production and neurotransmitter biosynthesis. The retina needs aspartate to sustain its aerobic glycolysis and mitochondrial metabolism. RPE metabolism is directed toward NADPH production and biosynthesis of acetyl-rich metabolites, serine, and others. RPE consumes multiple nutrients, including proline, to produce metabolites for the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101672
JournaliScience
Volume23
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 20 2020

Keywords

  • Biochemistry
  • Metabolomics
  • Sensory Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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