Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Feb 4;12(2):381. doi: 10.3390/antiox12020381.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in elderly people worldwide. The damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) triggered by oxidative stress plays a central role in the onset and progression of AMD and results from the excessive accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced mainly by mitochondria. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1 (TRAP1) is a mitochondrial molecular chaperone that contributes to the maintenance of mitochondrial integrity by decreasing the production and accumulation of ROS. The present study aimed to evaluate the presence and the role of TRAP1 in the RPE. Here, we report that TRAP1 is expressed in human adult retinal pigment epithelial cells and is located mainly in the mitochondria. Exposure of RPE cells to hydrogen peroxide decreases the levels of TRAP1. Furthermore, TRAP1 silencing increases intracellular ROS production and decreases mitochondrial respiratory capacity without affecting cell proliferation. Together, these findings offer novel insights into TRAP1 functions in RPE cells, opening possibilities to develop new treatment options for AMD.