Abstract

Photoreceptor maintenance is dependent on effective delivery of nutrients from the choroidal circulation by way of the acellular Bruch’s membrane and the retinal pigment epithelium. Aging of Bruch’s membrane is associated with thickening, increased cross linking of fibers, and deposition of debris culminating in reduced porosity. The present study has investigated the effects of aging on the diffusional transport of eight amino acids across Bruch’s membrane in 19 human donors. Diffusion studies were carried out in Ussing chambers, and the amount of time-dependent transfer of amino acids across the preparation was quantified by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Diffusion rates for all amino acids showed a significant linear decline with aging of donor. The importance of this reduction in delivery of amino acids is discussed with reference to both normal physiology and age-related macular degeneration.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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