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Mei Du, Eric Phelps, Michael J. Balangue, Aaron Dockins, Gennadiy Moiseyev, Younghwa Shin, Shelley Kane, Laura Otalora, Jian-Xing Ma, Rafal Farjo, Krysten M. Farjo; Transgenic Mice Over-Expressing RBP4 Have RBP4-Dependent and Light-Independent Retinal Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(10):4375-4383. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-22107.
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Transgenic mice overexpressing serum retinol-binding protein (RBP4-Tg) develop progressive retinal degeneration, characterized by microglia activation, yet the precise mechanisms underlying retinal degeneration are unclear. Previous studies showed RBP4-Tg mice have normal ocular retinoid levels, suggesting that degeneration is independent of the retinoid visual cycle or light exposure. The present study addresses whether retinal degeneration is light-dependent and RBP4-dependent by testing the effects of dark-rearing and pharmacological lowering of serum RBP4 levels, respectively.
RBP4-Tg mice reared on normal mouse chow in normal cyclic light conditions were directly compared to RBP4-Tg mice exposed to chow supplemented with the RBP4-lowering compound A1120 or dark-rearing conditions. Quantitative retinal histological analysis was conducted to assess retinal degeneration, and electroretinography (ERG) and optokinetic tracking (OKT) tests were performed to assess retinal and visual function. Ocular retinoids and bis-retinoid A2E were quantified.
Dark-rearing RBP4-Tg mice effectively reduced ocular bis-retinoid A2E levels, but had no significant effect on retinal degeneration or dysfunction in RBP4-Tg mice, demonstrating that retinal degeneration is light-independent. A1120 treatment lowered serum RBP4 levels similar to wild-type mice, and prevented structural retinal degeneration. However, A1120 treatment did not prevent retinal dysfunction in RBP4-Tg mice. Moreover, RBP4-Tg mice on A1120 diet had significant worsening of OKT response and loss of cone photoreceptors compared to RBP4-Tg mice on normal chow. This may be related to the very significant reduction in retinyl ester levels in the retina of mice on A1120-supplemented diet.
Retinal degeneration in RBP4-Tg mice is RBP4-dependent and light-independent.
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