Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences




Here we report multiple lines of evidence for a comprehensive model of energy metabolism in the vertebrate eye. Metabolic flux, locations of key enzymes, and our finding that glucose enters mouse and zebrafish retinas mostly through photoreceptors support a conceptually new model for retinal metabolism. In this model, glucose from the choroidal blood passes through the retinal pigment epithelium to the retina where photoreceptors convert it to lactate. Photoreceptors then export the lactate as fuel for the retinal pigment epithelium and for neighboring Mu ̈ ller glial cells. We used human retinal epithelial cells to show that lactate can suppress consumption of glucose by the retinal pigment epithelium. Suppression of glucose consumption in the retinal pigment epithelium can increase the amount of glucose that reaches the retina. This framework for understanding metabolic relationships in the vertebrate retina provides new insights into the underlying causes of retinal disease and age-related vision loss.

Source Citation

Abstract. (n.d.). eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd.


Copyright Kanow et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.