October 1995
Volume 36, Issue 11
Free
Articles  |   October 1995
Photoreceptor cells in the vitiligo mouse die by apoptosis. TRPM-2/clusterin expression is increased in the neural retina and in the retinal pigment epithelium.
Author Affiliations
  • S B Smith
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
  • N Bora
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
  • D McCool
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
  • G Kutty
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
  • P Wong
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
  • R K Kutty
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
  • B Wiggert
    Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2000, USA.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science October 1995, Vol.36, 2193-2201. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      S B Smith, N Bora, D McCool, G Kutty, P Wong, R K Kutty, B Wiggert; Photoreceptor cells in the vitiligo mouse die by apoptosis. TRPM-2/clusterin expression is increased in the neural retina and in the retinal pigment epithelium.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1995;36(11):2193-2201.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the mechanism of photoreceptor cell death in the vitiligo mouse, a model of retinal degeneration in which the genetic defect is not retina specific but is instead caused by single point mutation in the microphthalmia (mi) gene that codes for a basic helix-loop-helix DNA transcription factor. METHODS: Detection of apoptotic cells was performed in fixed retinal tissue using the TUNEL assay in animals 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 16, 32, 40, and 52 weeks. Electron microscopic analysis was used to confirm the morphologic hallmarks of apoptosis, and Southern blot analysis was used to detect internucleosomal DNA fragmentation. Additionally, the expression of a gene associated with apoptosis, TRPM-2/clusterin, was examined. RESULTS: At ages beyond the time of normal retinal programmed cell death, vitiligo retinas had significantly more TUNEL-positive photoreceptor cells and more photoreceptor cells with condensed chromatin than controls. DNA internucleosomal fragmentation ladders were present in vitiligo retinas even as late as 15 weeks, a time well beyond developmental apoptosis in controls. TRPM-2/clusterin mRNA levels in vitiligo neural retinas were similar to controls initially but were two times greater than controls by 12 weeks. Surprisingly, TRPM-2/clusterin mRNA levels were elevated in the retinal pigment epithelium in the mutant; the expression at one week was two times greater than normals and remained elevated for many months, even though retinal pigment epithelial cells showed no morphologic evidence of apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: The morphologic and biochemical data suggest that photoreceptor cells die by apoptosis in vitiligo mice. The increased retinal TRPM-2/clusterin mRNA levels may be a direct response to these events. The increased expression of this gene in the retinal pigment epithelium, however, may reflect its role in tissue regression and membrane remodeling. Mechanisms by which the mi gene defect might result in the vitiligo retinopathy are proposed.

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