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Qing Zhong, Renu A. Kowluru; Epigenetic Modification of Sod2 in the Development of Diabetic Retinopathy and in the Metabolic Memory: Role of Histone Methylation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(1):244-250. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10854.
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Mitochondrial superoxide levels are elevated in the retina in diabetes, and their scavenging enzyme, MnSOD, becomes subnormal. The objective of this study is to investigate the role of histone methylation of Sod2, the gene that encodes MnSOD, in the development of diabetic retinopathy and in the metabolic memory phenomenon associated with its continued progression after termination of hyperglycemia.
Effect of high glucose on monomethyl H3K4 (H3K4me1), dimethyl H3K4 (H3K4me2), and lysine-specific demethylase-1 (LSD1) was quantified at Sod2 by chromatin immunoprecipitation in isolated retinal endothelial cells. The role of histone methylation in the metabolic memory phenomenon was investigated in the retina of rats maintained in poor glycemic control (PC, approximately 12% glycated hemoglobin [GHb]) for 3 months followed by in good glycemic control (GC, approximately 6% GHb) for 3 months.
Hyperglycemia reduced H3K4me1 and -me2, and increased the binding of LSD1 and Sp1 at Sod2. Regulation of LSD1 by LSD1-siRNA ameliorated glucose-induced decrease in H3K4 methylation at Sod2, and prevented decrease in Sod2 gene expression. In rats, re-institution of GC failed to reverse decrease in H3K4me1 and -me2 at Sod2, and LSD1 remained active with increased binding of LSD1 and Sp1 at Sod2. Retina from human donors with diabetic retinopathy also had decreased H3K4me2 and increased LSD1 at Sod2.
Histone methylation of retinal Sod2 has an important role in the development of diabetic retinopathy and in the metabolic memory phenomenon associated with its continued progression. Targeting enzymes important for histone methylation may serve as a potential therapy to halt the development of diabetic retinopathy.
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