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Retinal Very Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: When the Fats Matter

Date Posted: Monday, February 28, 2022

Martin-Paul Agbaga Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of Lipidomics Core Facility of the Ophthalmology and Cell Biology Department and the Dean McGee Eye Institute of the University of Oklahoma Health and Science Center was our Vision Seminar’s first speaker who returned to a in person presentation mode after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The seminar was also transmitted virtually over zoom to limit in person attendance.

Dr. Agbaga seminar summarized the importance that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids play in retinal biology and disease. He was the first one to discover the role of ELOVL4 (elongation of very long chain fatty acids protein 4) and how it contributes to Stargardt-3 disease, which is a juvenile form of macular dystrophy that leads to blindness. He also showed how long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and Stargardt-3 disease are connected to age-related macular degeneration. His research is opening new avenues for the development of therapeutics to treat Stargardt-3 disease and age-related macular degeneration.

The highlight of his talk was the connection that Stargardt-3 disease and age-related macular degeneration may be both caused by an imbalance of fatty acids that originates in photoreceptors, although the primary cell type affected in both diseases is the retinal-pigmented epithelium.

Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga Vison Seminar
Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga Vison Seminar
Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga Vison Seminar
Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga Vison Seminar