Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 11, 2010
Previous Article Next Article

Fundus autofluorescence and the bisretinoids of retina

Author affiliations


Imaging of the human fundus of the eye with excitation wavelengths in the visible spectrum reveals a natural autofluorescence, that in a healthy retina originates primarily from the bisretinoids that constitute the lipofuscin of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Since the intensity and distribution of fundus autofluorescence is altered in the presence of retinal disease, we have examined the fluorescence properties of the retinal bisretinoids with a view to aiding clinical interpretations. As is also observed for fundus autofluorescence, fluorescence emission from RPE lipofuscin was generated with a wide range of exciting wavelengths; with increasing excitation wavelength, the emission maximum shifted towards longer wavelengths and spectral width was decreased. These features are consistent with fluorescence generation from a mixture of compounds. While the bisretinoids that constitute RPE lipofuscin all fluoresced with maxima that were centered around 600 nm, fluorescence intensities varied when excited at 488 nm, the excitation wavelength utilized for fundus autofuorescence imaging. For instance the fluorescence efficiency of the bisretinoid A2-dihydropyridine-phosphatidylethanolamine (A2-DHP-PE) was greater than A2E and relative to both of the latter, all-trans-retinal dimer-phosphatidylethanolamine was weakly fluorescent. On the other hand, certain photooxidized forms of the bisretinoids present in both RPE and photoreceptor cells were more strongly fluorescent than the parent compound. We also sought to evaluate whether diffuse puncta of autofluorescence observed in some retinal disorders of monogenic origin are attributable to retinoid accumulation. However, two retinoids of the visual cycle, all-trans-retinyl ester and all-trans-retinal, did not exhibit fluorescence at 488 nm excitation.

Graphical abstract: Fundus autofluorescence and the bisretinoids of retina

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 02 Jul 2010, accepted on 23 Aug 2010 and first published on 23 Sep 2010

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0PP00207K
Citation: Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2010,9, 1480-1489
  •   Request permissions

    Fundus autofluorescence and the bisretinoids of retina

    J. R. Sparrow, Y. Wu, T. Nagasaki, K. D. Yoon, K. Yamamoto and J. Zhou, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2010, 9, 1480
    DOI: 10.1039/C0PP00207K

Search articles by author