Retinal degeneration, characterized by the progressive death of retinal neurons, is the most common cause of visual impairment. Oxysterols are the cholesterol derivatives produced via enzymatic and/or free radical oxidation that regulate cholesterol homeostasis in the retina. Preclinical and clinical studies have suggested a connection between oxysterols and retinal degeneration. Here, we summarize early and recent work related to retina oxysterol-producing enzymes and the distribution of oxysterols in the retina. We examine the impact of loss of oxysterol-producing enzymes on retinal pathology and explore the molecular mechanisms associated with the toxic or protective roles of individual oxysterols in different types of retinal degeneration. We conclude that increased efforts to better understand the oxysterol–associated pathophysiology will help in the development of effective retinal degeneration therapies.
- retinal degeneration