Immune regulation in the aging retina

Mei Chen, Chang Luo, Jiawu Zhao, Gayathri Devarajan, Heping Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
485 Downloads (Pure)


The retina is an immune privileged tissue, which is protected from external and internal insults by its blood-retinal barriers and immune suppressive microenvironment. Apart from the avoidance and tolerance strategies, the retina is also protected by its own defense system, i.e., microglia and the complement system. The immune privilege and defense mechanisms work together to maintain retinal homeostasis. During aging, the retina is at an increased risk of developing various degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucomatous retinopathy. Previously, we have shown that aging induces a para-inflammatory response in the retina. In this review, we explore the impact of aging on retinal immune regulation and the connection between homeostatic control of retinal immune privilege and para-inflammation under aging conditions and present a view that may explain why aging puts the retina at risk of developing degenerative diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
Early online date20 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Aging
  • Blood-retina barrier
  • Complement
  • Inflammation
  • Microglia
  • Retinal degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

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