• retinal pigment epithelial cell;
  • neuropeptide;
  • cytokine;
  • differentiation;
  • melanin synthesis

To determine the mechanism of growth and differentiation of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells it is important to understand the pathogenesis of several retinal diseases. Recently it has been reported that several cytokines and neuropeptides regulate the growth of RPE cells. In this study, the role of cytokines and neuropeptides in melanin synthesis, which is one indication of the RPE cell differentiation, was examined using chick RPE cells in vitro IL-1β, TNF-α, substance P, β-endorphin and methionine-enkephalin stimulated the melanin synthesis of RPE cells in a dose-dependent manner. The most effective concentrations of these agents on RPE cell melanin synthesis were not the same as that for RPE cell proliferation. These results indicate that cytokines and neuropeptides play an important role not only for the growth but also for the differentiation of RPE cells.