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Juan Du, Tony Tran, Christine Fu, David W. Sretavan; Upregulation of EphB2 and ephrin-B2 at the Optic Nerve Head of DBA/2J Glaucomatous Mice Coincides with Axon Loss. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(12):5567-5581. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0442.
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purpose. To identify genes with upregulated expression at the optic nerve head (ONH) that coincides with retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon loss in glaucomatous DBA/2J mice. To further demonstrate that the proteins encoded by these genes bind to RGC axons and influence fundamental axon physiology.
methods. In situ hybridization and cell-type–specific immunolabeling were performed on ONH sections from DBA/2J mice (3 to 11 months old) and C57Bl/6NCrl mice (10 months old). EphB2-Fc and ephrin-B2-Fc chimeric proteins were applied to adult RGC axons in vitro and in vivo at the ONH to demonstrate protein binding on axons. EphB2-Fc or control Fc protein was applied in a bath or locally to axons preloaded with the calcium indicator Fluo-4-AM, and changes in intra-axonal calcium were determined.
results. EphB2 and ephrin-B2 were specifically upregulated at the ONH of DBA/2J mice starting at 9 months of age, but not in age-matched C57Bl/6NCrl mice or in DBA/2J animals that did not have axon loss. EphA4 was also present at the ONH, but no difference in expression was detected between unaffected and affected animals. EphB2 was expressed by F4/80+, MOMA2+, ED1− macrophage-like cells, ephrin-B2 was expressed by Iba-1+ microglia and GFAP+ astrocytes, whereas EphA4 was expressed by GFAP+ astrocytes. EphB2-Fc and ephrin-B2-Fc protein bound to RGC axons in culture and to ONH RGC axons in vivo. Adult RGC axons in vitro elevated intra-axonal calcium in response to EphB2-Fc but not to control Fc protein.
conclusions. The expression of EphB2 and ephrin-B2 is upregulated at the ONH of glaucomatous DBA/2J mice coinciding with RGC axon loss. The direct binding of EphB2 and ephrin-B2 on adult RGC axons at the ONH and the ability of EphB2 to elevate intra-axonal calcium indicate that these proteins may affect RGC axon physiology in the setting of glaucoma and thus affect the development or progression of the disease.
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