Mathematical modelling of retinal metabolism
Macdougall, Lindsey C. (2015) Mathematical modelling of retinal metabolism. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
Age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, in which the cells at the back of the eye degrade due to age and diabetes respectively, are prevalent causes of vision loss in adults. We formulate mathematical models of retinal metabolic regulation to investigate defects that may be responsible for pathology. Continuum PDE models are developed to test whether rod photoreceptors, light detecting cells in the eye, may regulate their energy demand by adapting their length under light and dark conditions. These models assume photoreceptor length depends on the availability of nutrients, such as oxygen, which diffuse and are consumed within the photoreceptor. Our results suggest that the length is limited by oxygen and phosphocreatine shuttle-derived ATP under dark and light conditions respectively. Parameter sensitivity analysis indicates that lowered mitochondrial efficiency due to ageing may be responsible for the damage to and death of photoreceptors that are characteristic of age-related macular degeneration.
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