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B. Rachelle Merriman-Smith, Miriam A. Young, Marc D. Jacobs, Joerg Kistler, Paul J. Donaldson; Molecular Identification of P-Glycoprotein: A Role in Lens Circulation?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(9):3008-3015.
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purpose. To determine whether P-glycoprotein is expressed in the rat lens and to assess what type of damage occurs when P-glycoprotein inhibitors are applied to organ-cultured lenses.
methods. An initial screening for the P-glycoprotein isoforms multidrug resistance (mdr)1a, mdr1b, and mdr2 was performed by RT-PCR on RNA extracted from rat lens fiber cells. Northern blot analysis was used to determine whether transcript levels detected by RT-PCR were significant. The presence of P-glycoprotein in the lens was confirmed by Western blot analysis and immunocytochemistry. Organ-cultured lenses, maintained in isotonic artificial aqueous humor, were exposed to various concentrations of the P-glycoprotein inhibitor tamoxifen. Lens opacification was assessed by dark-field microscopy, and the underlying cellular changes were visualized by confocal microscopy of lens sections, using a fluorescent membrane marker. Initial cellular damage was assessed after a 6-hour exposure to 100 μM tamoxifen. Other P-glycoprotein inhibitors, verapamil, and 1,9-dideoxyforskolin (DDFK) were assessed, and the damage phenotypes were compared with those seen for tamoxifen.
results. Transcript for all three P-glycoprotein isoforms was detected with RT-PCR, but only mdr1a and mdr2 could be detected by Northern blot analysis. P-glycoprotein was localized in the plasma membrane of lens epithelial and fiber cells. Treatment of organ-cultured lenses with increasing doses of the P-glycoprotein inhibitor tamoxifen for 18 hours showed that two distinct damage phenotypes were evident. At a dose of 20 μM tamoxifen, tissue damage was found in a discrete zone that initially started approximately 100 μm from the capsule, whereas at higher doses (60–100 μM tamoxifen), extensive vesiculation of fiber cell membranes occurred throughout the entire lens cortex. Decreasing tamoxifen (100 μM) exposure to 6 hours showed that the inner zone of damage was caused by the dilation of extracellular space between fiber cells. The extracellular space dilution and fiber cell vesiculation could be reproduced by varying the concentrations of other P-glycoprotein inhibitors, verapamil and DDKF.
conclusions. The P-glycoproteins mdr1a and mdr2 are expressed in the lens and appear to be functional. The initial cellular damage phenotype of extracellular space dilations caused by the P-glycoprotein inhibitors was identical with that caused by chloride channel inhibitors, indicating that P-glycoprotein may play a role in regulating cell volume in the lens. Whether the secondary damage phenotype of fiber cell vesiculation, induced by high doses of P-glycoprotein inhibitors, was due to the inhibition of additional regulatory activities of P-glycoprotein or to nonspecific effects of the drugs remains to be determined. However, regardless of the precise mode of action, these results indicate that P-glycoprotein should be considered in the regulatory mechanisms associated with the control of lens volume and in the initiation of osmotic cataract.
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