The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a single layer of cuboidal cells that develops from the neural tube as well as neural retina does, and is therefore considered part of the central nervous system. While the neural retina receives light and converts it to electrical signals to process information and transfer it to the brain, the RPE acts as an essential coordinator of the retinal microenvironment for appropriate retinal neural function. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated during basal cellular metabolic processes. Moreover, daily exposure to light stimuli enhances the production of ROS in the RPE and the neural retina, the excessive accumulation of which contributes to retinal pathogenesis. In this section, oxidative stress in the RPE and its proposed contribution to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are discussed, reviewing recent in vivo and in vitro studies that support the role of oxidative stress in the development and progression of AMD.
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