Patients with certain systemic deficiencies in the degradation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) often suffer from a retinal degeneration similar to that seen in retinitis pigmentosa. This applies to mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) types I, II, and III, but not to type VI. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is thought to contribute significantly to the synthesis and degradation of proteoglycans in the interphotoreceptor matrix. This raises the possibility that a defect in the synthesis or degradation of GAGs by the RPE may be related to some forms of retinal degeneration. In the present work, RPE from normal and RP donors was investigated for the capacity to correct deficiencies in GAG degradation by cultured skin fibroblasts from patients with different forms of MPS. A cross-correction technique was used in which abnormal increases in the incorporation of 35S-sulfate into GAGs by MPS fibroblasts was measured in the absence or presence of RPE cultures. RPE from normal donors corrected the defects in GAG degradation of fibroblasts from patients with MPS I, II, and III, but not MPS VI. The RPE from four donors with retinitis pigmentosa (one autosomal dominant, one sex-linked, and two isolated cases) and one donor with an unclassified isolated retinal degeneration demonstrated the same capacities to correct the MPS deficiencies as did normal RPE. Therefore, although retinitis pigmentosa is a heterogeneous disorder with several possible etiologies, no evidence was found in these five patients for a defect in GAG degradation that resembles the deficiencies of MPS patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience