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Review Article

Retinal Degeneration: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 40 ]


Xue Wu, Naihong Yan* and Ming Zhang*   Pages 6125 - 6140 ( 16 )


Retinal degenerative diseases are the main retinal diseases that threaten vision. Most retinal degenerative diseases are inherited diseases, including autosomal recessive inheritance, autosomal dominant inheritance, X-linked inheritance, and mitochondrial inheritance; therefore, emerging gene therapy strategies may provide an alternative method of treatment. Currently, three viral vectors are usually used in gene therapy studies: adenovirus, lentivirus, and adeno-associated virus. Other gene therapies have their own advantages, such as DNA nanoparticles, antisense oligonucleotides, and gene editing therapies. In addition, retinal degenerative diseases are often accompanied by abnormalities of retinal cells, including photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelial cells. At present, stem cell transplantation is a promising new treatment for retinal degenerative diseases. Common sources of stem cells include retinal progenitor cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and mesenchymal stem cells. In addition, retina explant cultures in vitro can be used as an effective platform for screening new therapies for retinal degenerative diseases. Drugs that actually reach the retinal layer are more controlled, more consistent, and less invasive when using retinal explants. Furthermore, studies have shown that the imbalance of the gut microbiota is closely related to the occurrence and development of diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, the progression of diabetic retinopathy may be restrained by adjusting the imbalance of the gut microbiota. The purpose of this review is to discuss and summarize the molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic strategies of retinal degenerative diseases.


The macula, retinal degeneration, Muller cells, photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, drug discovery.


Department of Ophthalmology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, Research Laboratory of Ophthalmology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, Department of Ophthalmology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041

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