Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Jul 1. doi: 10.1007/s10571-023-01383-z. Online ahead of print.
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a highly specialized and polarized epithelial cell layer that plays an important role in sustaining the structural and functional integrity of photoreceptors. However, the death of RPE is a common pathological feature in various retinal diseases, especially in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). Mitophagy, as a programmed self-degradation of dysfunctional mitochondria, is crucial for maintaining cellular homeostasis and cell survival under stress. RPE contains a high density of mitochondria necessary for it to meet energy demands, so severe stimuli can cause mitochondrial dysfunction and the excess generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can further trigger oxidative stress-involved mitophagy. In this review, we summarize the classical pathways of oxidative stress-involved mitophagy in RPE and investigate its role in the progression of retinal diseases, aiming to provide a new therapeutic strategy for treating retinal degenerative diseases. The role of mitophagy in AMD and DR. In AMD, excessive ROS production promotes mitophagy in the RPE by activating the Nrf2/p62 pathway, while in DR, ROS may suppress mitophagy by the FOXO3-PINK1/parkin signaling pathway or the TXNIP-mitochondria-lysosome-mediated mitophagy.