A2E distribution in RPE granules in human eyes

Ziqiang Guan, Yiwen Li, Shuliang Jiao, Nusrat Yeasmin, Philip J. Rosenfeld, Sander R. Dubovy, Byron L. Lam, Rong Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A2E (N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine) is a major fluorophore in the RPE (retinal pigment epithelium). To identify and characterize A2E-rich RPE lipofuscin, we fractionated RPE granules from human donor eyes into five fractions (F1–F5 in ascending order of density) by discontinuous sucrose density gradient centrifugation. The dry weight of each fraction was measured and A2E was quantified by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) using a synthetic A2E homolog as a standard. Autofluorescence emission was characterized by a customer-built spectro-fluorometer system. A significant A2E level was detected in every fraction, and the highest level was found in F1, a low-density fraction that makes up half of the total weight of all RPE granules, contains 67% of all A2E, and emits 75% of projected autofluorescence by all RPE granules. This group of RPE granules, not described previously, is therefore the most abundant RPE lipofuscin granule population. A progressive decrease in autofluorescence was observed from F2 to F4, whereas no autofluorescence emission was detected from the heavily pigmented F5. The identification of a novel and major RPE lipofuscin population could have significant implications in our understanding of A2E and lipofuscin in human RPE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1413
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


  • A2E (N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine)
  • Lipofuscin fluorescence
  • Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), melanin
  • RPE lipofuscin
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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