Lipoic Acid and Progesterone Alone or in Combination Ameliorate Retinal Degeneration in an Experimental Model of Hereditary Retinal Degeneration.
ABSTRACT: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinopathies characterized by photoreceptors death. Our group has shown the positive progesterone (P4) actions on cell death progression in an experimental model of RP. In an effort to enhance the beneficial effects of P4, the aim of this study was to combine P4 treatment with an antioxidant [lipoic acid (LA)] in the rd1 mice. rd1 and control mice were treated with 100 mg/kg body weight of P4, LA, or a combination of both on postnatal day 7 (PN7), 9, and 11, and were sacrificed at PN11. The administration of LA and/or P4 diminishes cell death in rd1 retinas. The effect obtained after the combined administration of LA and P4 is higher than the one obtained with LA or P4 alone. The three treatments decreased GFAP staining, however, in the far peripheral retina, and the two treatments that offered better results were LA and LA plus P4. LA or LA plus P4 increased retinal glutathione (GSH) concentration in the rd1 mice. Although LA and P4 are able to protect photoreceptors from death in rd1 mice retinas, a better effectiveness is achieved when administering LA and P4 at the same time.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal degenerative diseases causing progressive loss of photoreceptors. Numerous gene mutations are identified to be related with RP, but epigenetic modifications may also be involved in the pathogenesis. Previous studies suggested that both DNA methylation and histone acetylation regulate photoreceptor cell death in RP mouse models. However, the role of histone methylation in RP has never been investigated. In this study, we found that trimethylation of several lysine sites of histone H3, including lysine 27 (H3K27me3), increased in the retinas of rd1 mice. Histone methylation inhibitor DZNep significantly reduced the calpain activity, delayed the photoreceptor loss, and improved ERG response of rd1 retina. RNA-sequencing indicated that DZNep synergistically acts on several molecular pathways that regulate photoreceptor survival in rd1 retina, including PI3K-Akt and photoreceptor differentiation pathways, revealing the therapeutic potential of DZNep for RP treatment. PI3K-Akt pathway and H3K27me3 form a feedback loop in rd1 retina, thus PI3K inhibitor LY294002 reduces phosphorylation of Ezh2 at serine 21 and enhances H3K27me3 deposition, and inhibiting H3K27me3 by DZNep can activate PI3K-Akt pathway by de-repressing gene expression of PI3K subunits Pik3r1 and Pik3r3. These findings suggest that histone methylation, especially H3K27me3 deposition is a novel mechanism and therapeutic target for retinal degenerative diseases, similar to H3K27me3-mediated ataxia-telangiectasia in Atm -/- mouse.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited neurodegenerative diseases affecting photoreceptors and causing blindness in humans. Previously, excessive activation of enzymes belonging to the poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) group was shown to be involved in photoreceptor degeneration in the human homologous rd1 mouse model for RP. Since there are at least 16 different PARP isoforms, we investigated the exact relevance of the predominant isoform - PARP1 - for photoreceptor cell death using PARP1 knock-out (KO) mice. In vivo and ex vivo morphological analysis using optic coherence tomography (OCT) and conventional histology revealed no major alterations of retinal phenotype when compared to wild-type (wt). Likewise, retinal function as assessed by electroretinography (ERG) was normal in PARP1 KO animals. We then used retinal explant cultures derived from wt, rd1, and PARP1 KO animals to test their susceptibility to chemically induced photoreceptor degeneration. Since photoreceptor degeneration in the rd1 retina is triggered by a loss-of-function in phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE6), we used selective PDE6 inhibition to emulate the rd1 situation on non-rd1 genotypes. While wt retina subjected to PDE6 inhibition showed massive photoreceptor degeneration comparable to rd1 retina, in the PARP1 KO situation, cell death was robustly reduced. Together, these findings demonstrate that PARP1 activity is in principle dispensable for normal retinal function, but is of major importance for photoreceptor degeneration under pathological conditions. Moreover, our results suggest that PARP dependent cell death or PARthanatos may play a major role in retinal degeneration and highlight the possibility to use specific PARP inhibitors for the treatment of RP.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited retinal degenerative disease, is characterized by a progressive loss of rod photoreceptors followed by loss of cone photoreceptors. Previously, when tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1), a key extracellular matrix (ECM) regulator that binds to and inhibits activation of Matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9) was intravitreal injected into eyes of a transgenic rhodopsin rat model of RP, S334ter-line3, we discovered cone outer segments are partially protected. In parallel, we reported that a specific MMP9 and MMP2 inhibitor, SB-3CT, interferes with mechanisms leading to rod photoreceptor cell death in an MMP9 dependent manner. Here, we extend our initial rat studies to examine the potential of TIMP1 as a treatment in retinal degeneration by investigating neuroprotective effects in a classic mouse retinal degeneration model, rdPde6b-/- (rd1). The results clearly demonstrate that intravitreal injections of TIMP1 produce extended protection to delay rod photoreceptor cell death. The mean total number of rods in whole-mount retinas was significantly greater in TIMP-treated rd1 retinas (postnatal (P) 30, P35 (P<0.0001) and P45 (P<0.05) than in saline-treated rd1 retinas. In contrast, SB-3CT did not delay rod cell death, leading us to further investigate alternative pathways that do not involve MMPs. In addition to inducing phosphorylated ERK1/2, TIMP1 significantly reduces BAX activity and delays attenuation of the outer nuclear layer (ONL). Physiological responses using scotopic electroretinograms (ERG) reveal b-wave amplitudes from TIMP1-treated retinas are significantly greater than from saline-treated rd1 retinas (P<0.05). In later degenerative stages of rd1 retinas, photopic b-wave amplitudes from TIMP1-treated rd1 retinas are significantly larger than from saline-treated rd1 retinas (P<0.05). Our findings demonstrate that TIMP1 delays photoreceptor cell death. Furthermore, this study provides new insights into how TIMP1 works in the mouse animal model of RP.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive hereditary retinal degenerative disease in which photoreceptor cells undergo degeneration and apoptosis, eventually resulting in irreversible loss of visual function. Currently, no effective treatment exists for this disease. Neuroprotection and inflammation suppression have been reported to delay the development of RP. Metformin is a well-tested drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, and it has been reported to exert beneficial effects in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In the present study, we used immunofluorescence staining, electroretinogram (ERG) recordings and RNA-Seq to explore the effects of metformin on photoreceptor degeneration and its mechanism in rd1 mice. We found that metformin significantly reduced apoptosis in photoreceptors and delayed the degeneration of photoreceptors and rod bipolar cells in rd1 mice, thus markedly improving the visual function of rd1 mice at P14, P18, and P22 when tested with a light/dark transition test and ERG. Microglial activation in the outer nuclear layer (ONL) of the retina of rd1 mice was significantly suppressed by metformin. RNA-Seq showed that metformin markedly downregulated inflammatory genes and upregulated the expression of crystallin proteins, which have been demonstrated to be important neuroprotective molecules in the retina, revealing the therapeutic potential of metformin for RP treatment. ?A-crystallin proteins were further confirmed to be involved in the neuroprotective effects of metformin in a Ca2+ ionophore-damaged 661W photoreceptor-like cell line. These data suggest that metformin exerts a protective effect in rd1 mice via both immunoregulatory and new neuroprotective mechanisms.
Project description:Retinal degeneration (RD), including retinitis pigmentosa (RP), is an inherited eye disease characterized by progressive degeneration of photoreceptors. Recently, immune cells, including microglia, Müller cells and astrocytes, in degenerative retina are demonstrated to play key roles in the development of RD and can be used as potential therapeutic targets. Liver X receptors (LXRs) are important immuno-inflammatory response transcription factors that have been reported to be a new potential therapeutic drug target for neurodegenerative diseases. However, the potential therapeutic utility of LXRs for RP has not been evaluated. In the present study, Pde6? (rd1) mice received intraperitoneal injections of T0901317 (T0, 50 mg/kg/d) or vehicle (2% DMSO) for 7 days with age-matched C57/BL6 mice as controls. The effect of T0 was examined by quantitating photoreceptor apoptosis, microglial density and the expression of inflammatory mediators; the underlying mechanisms were then explored with a microarray assay. T0 markedly delayed apoptosis of the photoreceptors, partially through suppressing the activation of microglia and the gliosis of Müller cells, and decreased the expression levels of IL-6, iNOS, COX-2 and ENG in rd1 mice; as a result, the visual function of T0-treated rd1 mice measured with electroretinograms (ERG) was preserved for a longer time than that of vehicle-treated rd1 mice. The microarray assay showed that the Janus kinase/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway was significantly affected in the retina of rd1 mice with T0 treatment. Our data suggested that T0 modulated the immunologic function of glia cells in the degenerative retina through the JAK3/STAT pathway and delayed the apoptosis of photoreceptors.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is one of the leading causes of adult blindness and has no established therapy. We have shown that valosin-containing protein (VCP) modulators, Kyoto University Substances (KUSs), ameliorated abnormally low ATP levels by inhibiting the ATPase of VCP, thereby protected several types of cells, including retinal neurons, from cell death-inducing insults. In this study, we found that KUS121, one of the VCP modulators, effectively protects photoreceptors both morphologically and functionally, in two animal models of retinal degeneration, rd12 mice and RP rabbits with a rhodopsin (Pro347Leu) mutation. In rd12 mice, KUS121 suppressed the loss of photoreceptors, not only rods but also cones, as well as the visual function deterioration. Significant protective effects existed even when the medication was started in later stages of the disease. In RP rabbits, KUS121 suppressed thinning of the outer nuclear layer and maintained visual function. In the retinas treated with KUS121, suppression of endoplasmic reticulum stress, activation of mammalian target of rapamycin and suppression of disease-associated apoptosis were evident. The ability of KUS121 to protect photoreceptors, especially cones, even in later stages of the disease may contribute to the preservation of central vision in RP patients, which is important for quality of vision.
Project description:The histone-deacetylase inhibitor activity of valproic acid (VPA) was discovered after VPA's adoption as an anticonvulsant. This generated speculation for VPA's potential to increase the expression of neuroprotective genes. Clinical trials for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are currently active, testing VPA's potential to reduce photoreceptor loss; however, we lack information regarding the effects of VPA on available mammalian models of retinal degeneration, nor do we know if retinal gene expression is perturbed by VPA in a predictable way. Thus, we examined the effects of systemic VPA on neurotrophic factor and Nrl-related gene expression in the mouse retina and compared VPA's effects on the rate of photoreceptor loss in two strains of mice, Pde6b(rd1/rd1) and Pde6b(rd10/rd10) .The expression of Bdnf, Gdnf, Cntf, and Fgf2 was measured by quantitative PCR after single and multiple doses of VPA (intraperitoneal) in wild-type and Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice. Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice were treated with daily doses of VPA during the period of rapid photoreceptor loss. Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice were also treated with systemic VPA to compare in a partial loss-of-function model. Retinal morphology was assessed by virtual microscopy or spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Full-field and focal electroretinography (ERG) analysis were employed with Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice to measure retinal function.In wild-type postnatal mice, a single VPA dose increased the expression of Bdnf and Gdnf in the neural retina after 18 h, while the expression of Cntf was reduced by 70%. Daily dosing of wild-type mice from postnatal day P17 to P28 resulted in smaller increases in Bdnf and Gdnf expression, normal Cntf expression, and reduced Fgf2 expression (25%). Nrl gene expression was decreased by 50%, while Crx gene expression was not affected. Rod-specific expression of Mef2c and Nr2e3 was decreased substantially by VPA treatment, while Rhodopsin and Pde6b gene expression was normal at P28. Daily injections with VPA (P9-P21) dramatically slowed the loss of rod photoreceptors in Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice. At age P21, VPA-treated mice had several extra rows of rod photoreceptor nuclei compared to PBS-injected littermates. Dosing started later (P14) or dosing every second day also rescued photoreceptors. In contrast, systemic VPA treatment of Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice (P17-P28) reduced visual function that correlated with a slight increase in photoreceptor loss. Treating Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice earlier (P9-P21) also failed to rescue photoreceptors. Treating wild-type mice earlier (P9-P21) reduced the number of photoreceptors in VPA-treated mice by 20% compared to PBS-treated animals.A single systemic dose of VPA can change retinal neurotrophic factor and rod-specific gene expression in the immature retina. Daily VPA treatment from P17 to P28 can also alter gene expression in the mature neural retina. While daily treatment with VPA could significantly reduce photoreceptor loss in the rd1 model, VPA treatment slightly accelerated photoreceptor loss in the rd10 model. The apparent rescue of photoreceptors in the rd1 model was not the result of producing more photoreceptors before degeneration. In fact, daily systemic VPA was toxic to wild-type photoreceptors when started at P9. However, the effective treatment period for Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice (P9-P21) has significant overlap with the photoreceptor maturation period, which complicates the use of the rd1 model for testing of VPA's efficacy. In contrast, VPA treatment started after P17 did not cause photoreceptor loss in wild-type mice. Thus, the acceleration of photoreceptor loss in the rd10 model may be more relevant where both photoreceptor loss and VPA treatment (P17-P28) started when the central retina was mature.
Project description:Recent success in functional recovery by photoreceptor precursor transplantation in dysfunctional retina has led to an increased interest in using embryonic stem cell (ESC) or induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived retinal progenitors to treat retinal degeneration. However, cell-based therapies for end-stage degenerative retinas that have lost the outer nuclear layer (ONL) are still a big challenge. In the present study, by transplanting mouse iPSC-derived retinal tissue (miPSC retina) in the end-stage retinal-degeneration model (rd1), we visualized the direct contact between host bipolar cell terminals and the presynaptic terminal of graft photoreceptors by gene labeling, showed light-responsive behaviors in transplanted rd1 mice, and recorded responses from the host retina with transplants by ex vivo micro-electroretinography and ganglion cell recordings using a multiple-electrode array system. Our data provides a proof of concept for transplanting ESC/iPSC retinas to restore vision in end-stage retinal degeneration.
Project description:Light responses are initiated in photoreceptors, processed by interneurons, and synaptically transmitted to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which send information to the brain. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a blinding disease caused by photoreceptor degeneration, depriving downstream neurons of light-sensitive input. Photoreceptor degeneration also triggers hyperactive firing of RGCs, obscuring light responses initiated by surviving photoreceptors. Here we show that retinoic acid (RA), signaling through its receptor (RAR), is the trigger for hyperactivity. A genetically encoded reporter shows elevated RAR signaling in degenerated retinas from murine RP models. Enhancing RAR signaling in healthy retinas mimics the pathophysiology of degenerating retinas. Drug inhibition of RAR reduces hyperactivity in degenerating retinas and unmasks light responses in RGCs. Gene therapy inhibition of RAR increases innate and learned light-elicited behaviors in vision-impaired mice. Identification of RAR as the trigger for hyperactivity presents a degeneration-dependent therapeutic target for enhancing low vision in RP and other blinding disorders.
Project description:Purpose:As an active component in wolfberry, lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) are capable of protecting retinal neurons in several animal disease models. Here, we asked whether LBP rescues the retinal morphology and function in rd1 mouse, a photoreceptor fast-degenerating animal model of retinitis pigmentosa, and in particular focused on LBP's effects on the function of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) during photoreceptor degeneration. Methods:An equal volume of LBP or control vehicle was daily intraperitoneal (i.p.) injected in rd1 mice from postnatal day 4 (P4) to P14, P20, or P24 when photoreceptors completely degenerate. Immunostaining, electroretinogram (ERG), visual behavior tests and multielectrode array (MEA) recordings were assessed to determine the structure and function of the treated retina. Results:LBP treatment greatly promoted photoreceptor survival, enhanced ERG responses, and improved visual behaviors in rd1 mice. MEA data showed that LBP treatment in general decreased the abnormally high spontaneous spiking that occurs in rd1 mice, and increased the percentage of light-responsive RGCs as well as their light-evoked response, light sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, and response speed. Interestingly, LBP treatment affected ON and OFF responses differently. Conclusions:LBP improves retinal morphology and function in rd1 mice, and delays the functional decay of RGCs during photoreceptor degeneration. This is the first study that has examined in detail the effects of LBP on RGC responses. Our data suggest that LBP may help extend the effective time window before more invasive RP therapeutic approaches such as retinoprosthesis are applied.