- Cholesterol is a quantitatively and biologically significant constituent of all mammalian cell membrane, including those that comprise the retina. Retinal cholesterol homeostasis entails the interplay between de novo synthesis, uptake, intraretinal sterol transport, metabolism, and efflux. Defects in these complex processes are associated with several congenital and age-related disorders of the visual system. Herein, we provide an overview of the following topics: (a) cholesterol synthesis in the neural retina; (b) lipoprotein uptake and intraretinal sterol transport in the neural retina and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE); (c) cholesterol efflux from the neural retina and the RPE; and (d) biology and pathobiology of defects in sterol synthesis and sterol oxidation in the neural retina and the RPE.
- In 2010, this journal published a series of review articles in a Thematic Issue entitled “Lipids and Lipid Metabolism in the Eye.” Over the ensuing decade, a number of significant advances have been made that are pertinent to this broad topic, which prompted us to launch a follow-up Thematic Issue to present updates on several of the topics reviewed in that prior issue as well as to expand into new areas that previously had not been addressed. In addition to considering the conventional classes of lipids (e.g., glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, fatty acids, and sterols), we also wanted to address some key lipid-soluble molecules (e.g., retinoids, bisretinoids, and carotenoids) that play important physiological roles in ocular tissues.