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Ping Yang, James J. Peairs, Ryotaro Tano, Nanfei Zhang, Jillian Tyrell, Glenn J. Jaffe; Caspase-8–Mediated Apoptosis in Human RPE Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(7):3341-3349. doi: 10.1167/iovs.06-1340.
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purpose. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is an important cytokine associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). TNF-α activates the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. In many cells, nuclear transcription factor (NF)-κB upregulates antiapoptotic proteins and prevents TNF-α–mediated apoptosis. However, retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells are resistant to TNF-α–induced apoptosis, even after specific NF-κB blockade. Herein, the authors investigated the role of caspase-8 in RPE cell resistance to TNF-α–mediated cell death.
methods. Caspase-8 mRNA and protein expression were measured in human RPE cells, human lens epithelial cells, human trabecular meshwork (TM) cells, human choroidal endothelial cells, human uveal melanoma cells (OCM-1, 92.1 and MKT-BR), T-98G, OVCAR-3, HCT116, and Jurkat cancer cells by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, respectively. RPE cells were coinfected with adenovirus encoding caspase-8 and Cre. RPE and T-98G cells were infected with adenovirus encoding mutant inhibitory (I)-κB and then were treated with media alone or with TNF-α. Cell viability was determined by WST-1 assay, and apoptosis was evaluated with DNA fragmentation assay and M30 assay. Caspase-3, -7, -9 expression and Bid protein expression after caspase-8 overexpression were examined by Western blot.
results. Human RPE cell caspase-8 mRNA and protein levels were low compared with levels in nonneoplastic ocular cells and cancer cells. Overexpression of caspase-8 significantly decreased cell number, caused caspase-8 and caspase-3 activation, decreased full-length Bid, caspase-9, and caspase-7, and significantly increased DNA fragmentation and M30-positive RPE cells. Without TNF-α treatment, NF-κB blockade had no effect on caspase-8–mediated RPE cell death. In the presence of TNF-α, NF-κB blockade slightly but significantly enhanced caspase-8–mediated RPE cell death.
conclusions. RPE cell caspase-8 protein levels are low compared with levels for other cell types and may be regulated posttranscriptionally. Low caspase-8 levels may protect RPE cells from apoptosis normally and in diseases such as AMD and may promote the survival of abnormal cells in PVR. Introduction of caspase-8 into RPE cells may be a potential strategy to treat PVR.
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