March 1999
Volume 40, Issue 3
Free
Articles  |   March 1999
Expression of antioxidant protective proteins in the rat retina during prenatal and postnatal development.
Author Affiliations
  • W Chen
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29208, USA.
  • D M Hunt
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29208, USA.
  • H Lu
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29208, USA.
  • R C Hunt
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29208, USA.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 1999, Vol.40, 744-751. doi:
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      W Chen, D M Hunt, H Lu, R C Hunt; Expression of antioxidant protective proteins in the rat retina during prenatal and postnatal development.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(3):744-751.

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

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Abstract

PURPOSE: In retinopathy of prematurity, capillary growth in the retina is attenuated. Subsequent cyclic elevation of oxygen levels leads to renewed capillary growth that may eventually result in retinal detachment. It is hypothesized that the sensitivity of the premature retina to oxidative shock results from the absence of antioxidant protective proteins. METHODS: The expression of heme oxygenase-1, metallothionein, superoxide dismutase, and catalase mRNAs was measured in retinas of rats from 6 days before birth to 4 days after birth using in situ hybridization and semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction with Southern blot analysis. RESULTS: Superoxide dismutase mRNA was expressed to a similar extent at all time points. Metallothionein mRNA expression, which was high at embryonic days (E) 16 and 18, decreased to low levels by the time of birth and remained low at least until 4 days after birth. Catalase mRNA expression was low until birth and increased until at least postnatal day 4. Heme oxygenase-1 mRNA showed low expression at E16 and E18, increased before birth, and then diminished. CONCLUSIONS: Four antioxidant protein mRNAs showed very different patterns of expression in the rat retina. Two of these proteins, heme oxygenase-1 and catalase, were expressed at relatively low levels until approximately the time of birth. The former is important in protection against heme-mediated generation of reactive oxygen species, whereas the latter protects against hydrogen peroxide-generated damage. As a result of the low expression of these mRNAs, and presumably the proteins encoded by them, the premature rat (and probably the premature human) is likely to be born without a full complement of antioxidant defenses.

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