September 2016
Volume 57, Issue 12
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Astroglia-Targeted Inhibition of Caspase-8 for Immunomodulation in Glaucoma
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Xiangjun Yang
    Ophthalmology, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
  • Gozde Hondur
    Ophthalmology, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
  • Stan Krajewski
    Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, California, United States
  • Razqallah Hakem
    University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Gulgun Tezel
    Ophthalmology, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Xiangjun Yang, None; Gozde Hondur, None; Stan Krajewski, None; Razqallah Hakem, None; Gulgun Tezel, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH 1R21EY024105, GRF, and RPB [GT] & NIH NS36821, and DoD W81XWH-08-2-0067 [SK]
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2016, Vol.57, 2547. doi:
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      Xiangjun Yang, Gozde Hondur, Stan Krajewski, Razqallah Hakem, Gulgun Tezel; Astroglia-Targeted Inhibition of Caspase-8 for Immunomodulation in Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):2547. doi:

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

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Purpose : Based on recent in vitro and in vivo studies using pharmacological caspase-8 inhibition, caspase-8 activity is differently processed in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and glia (pro-apoptotic or pro-survival/pro-inflammatory), and besides inhibiting apoptosis in RGCs themselves, caspase-8 inhibition in glia can protect RGCs from neurodegenerative inflammation in glaucoma. To further test this hypothesis, this study analyzed the outcomes of astroglia-targeted transgenic inhibition of caspase-8 in experimental glaucoma.

Methods : Intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation was induced in transgenic mice (crossbreds of caspase-8 f/f and GFAP-CreERT2) and transgenic or background (C57BL/6J) controls by microbead/viscoelastic injections into the anterior chamber. Following a 6-week ocular hypertensive period, the inflammatory status in the retina and optic nerve was determined by analysis of the glial activation phenotype, cytokine/chemokine profiles, and transcriptional NF-κB activity. The effects of astroglia-targeted caspase-8 deletion on neuron injury was also analyzed by RGC and axon counts in transgenic and control groups matched for the IOP-time integral.

Results : Similar to C57BL/6J controls, anterior chamber microbead/viscoelastic injections in astroglial caspase-8-deleted mice resulted in moderate IOP elevation (21.3±3.6 mmHg). In the ocular hypertensive group of mice with astroglial caspase-8 deletion, the number of GFAP+ astrocytes in the retina and optic nerve was decreased over 30%, and the neuron loss (adjusted to normotensive fellow eyes) was decreased approximately 50% (44,816±4,955) compared to ocular hypertensive C57BL/6J controls (including a minimum of 3 mice per group). However, no prominent alteration was detectable in the counts of glutamine synthethase+ Müller glia, or Iba1+ microglia between transgenic and control groups. Also detected was approximately three-fold lower ELISA titers of the pro-inflammatory cytokines (including TNF-α and IFN-γ) and over two-fold decreased activity of NF-κB in the ocular hypertensive retina and optic nerve of mice with astroglial caspase-8 deletion compared to ocular hypertensive controls.

Conclusions : These findings suggest that targeting the astroglial caspase-8 can provide immunomodulation/neuroprotection in experimental glaucoma by removing the inflammatory glia and preventing the glia-driven neurodegenerative inflammation.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.


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