Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Cell & Bioscience


Department of Biological Sciences


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in elderly people over 60. The pathogenesis is still unclear. It has been suggested that lysosomal stress may lead to drusen formation, a biomarker of AMD. In this study, ARPE-19 cells were treated with chloroquine to inhibit lysosomal function. Chloroquine-treated ARPE-19 cells demonstrate a marked increase in vacuolation and dense intracellular debris. These are identified as chloroquine-dilated lysosomes and lipid bodies with LAMP-2 and LipidTOX co-localization, respectively. Dilation is an indicator of lysosomal dysfunction. Chloroquine disrupts uptake of exogenously applied rhodamine-labeled dextran by these cells. This suggests a disruption in the phagocytic pathway. The increase in LAMP protein levels, as assessed by Western blots, suggests the possible involvement in autophagy. Oxidative stress with H2O2 does not induce vacuolation or lipid accumulation. These findings suggest a possible role for lysosomes in AMD. Chloroquine treatment of RPE cells may provide insights into the cellular mechanisms underlying AMD.



Original Citation

Chen PM, Gombart ZJ, Chen JW. Chloroquine treatment of ARPE-19 cells leads to lysosome dilation and intracellular lipid accumulation: possible implications of lysosomal dysfunction in macular degeneration. Cell Biosci. 2011 Mar 8;1(1):10. doi: 10.1186/2045-3701-1-10. PMID: 21711726; PMCID: PMC3125200.