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Dan Yi Wang, Arjun Ray, Kathryn Rodgers, Ceren Ergorul, Bradley T. Hyman, Wei Huang, Cynthia L. Grosskreutz; Global Gene Expression Changes in Rat Retinal Ganglion Cells in Experimental Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(8):4084-4095. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.09-4864.
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Intraocular pressure (IOP) is an important risk factor in glaucoma. Gene expression changes were studied in glaucomatous rat retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to elucidate altered transcriptional pathways.
RGCs were back-labeled with Fluorogold. Unilateral IOP elevation was produced by injection of hypertonic saline into the episcleral veins. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) was used to capture an equal number of RGCs from normal and glaucomatous retinal sections. RNA was extracted and amplified, labeled, and hybridized to rat genome microarrays, and data analysis was performed. After selected microarray data were confirmed by RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry, biological pathway analyses were performed.
Significant changes were found in the expression of 905 genes, with 330 genes increasing and 575 genes decreasing in glaucomatous RGCs. Multiple cellular pathways were involved. Ingenuity pathway analysis demonstrated significant changes in cardiac β-adrenergic signaling, interferon signaling, glutamate receptor signaling, cAMP-mediated signaling, chemokine signaling, 14-3-3-mediated signaling, and G-protein-coupled receptor signaling. Gene set enrichment analysis showed that the genes involved in apoptotic pathways were enriched in glaucomatous RGCs. The prosurvival gene Stat3 was upregulated in response to elevated IOP, and immunohistochemistry confirmed that Stat3 and phosphorylated-Stat3 levels were increased in RGCs in experimental glaucoma. In addition, the expression of several prosurvival genes normally expressed in RGCs was decreased.
There are extensive changes in gene expression in glaucomatous RGCs involving multiple molecular pathways, including prosurvival and prodeath genes. The alteration in the balance between prosurvival and prodeath may contribute to RGC death in glaucoma.
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