Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Stargardt disease, an ATP-binding cassette, subfamily A, member 4 (ABCA4)-related retinopathy, is a genetic condition characterized by the accelerated accumulation of lipofuscin in the retinal pigment epithelium, degeneration of the neuroretina, and loss of vision. No approved treatment exists. Here, using a murine model of Stargardt disease, we show that the propensity of vitamin A to dimerize is responsible for triggering the formation of the majority of lipofuscin and transcriptional dysregulation of genes associated with inflammation. Data further demonstrate that replacing vitamin A with vitamin A deuterated at the carbon 20 position (C20-D3-vitamin A) impedes the dimerization rate of vitamin A--by approximately fivefold for the vitamin A dimer A2E--and subsequent lipofuscinogenesis and normalizes the aberrant transcription of complement genes without impairing retinal function. Phenotypic rescue by C20-D3-vitamin A was also observed noninvasively by quantitative autofluorescence, an imaging technique used clinically, in as little as 3 months after the initiation of treatment, whereas upon interruption of treatment, the age-related increase in autofluorescence resumed. Data suggest that C20-D3-vitamin A is a clinically amiable tool to inhibit vitamin A dimerization, which can be used to determine whether slowing the dimerization of vitamin A can prevent vision loss caused by Stargardt disease and other retinopathies associated with the accumulation of lipofuscin in the retina.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





8415 - 8420


A2E, ALK-001, C20-D3-vitamin A, age-related macular degeneration, bisretinoid, ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Animals, Deuterium, Dimerization, Electroretinography, Lipofuscin, Macular Degeneration, Mice, 129 Strain, Mice, Knockout, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Phenotype, Retina, Retinal Pigment Epithelium, Stargardt Disease, Treatment Outcome, Vitamin A, Vitamins