July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Effect of curcumin on retinal microglia in GFAP-IL6 mice.
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Victor Perez Fernandez
    Western Sydney University, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
  • Andy Liang
    Western Sydney University, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
  • Gerald Muench
    Western Sydney University, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
  • Morven Alison Cameron
    Western Sydney University, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Victor Perez Fernandez, Indena (F); Andy Liang, None; Gerald Muench, Indena (F); Morven Cameron, Indena (F)
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 1488. doi:
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      Victor Perez Fernandez, Andy Liang, Gerald Muench, Morven Alison Cameron; Effect of curcumin on retinal microglia in GFAP-IL6 mice.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):1488.

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

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Purpose : Neuroinflammation is thought to play a substantive role in many degenerative eye disorders, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinal vein occlusion and retinitis pigmentosa. The purpose of this study was to examine retinal microglia in a mouse model of chronic neuroinflammation induced by astroglia-specific production of interleukin 6 (GFAP-IL6). Furthermore, we aimed to determine the effect of increasing doses of highly bioavailable curcumin on microglial changes in response to chronic inflammation.

Methods : Four month old heterozygous GFAP-IL6 mice were fed different doses (0, 35, 70 and 140mg/kg per day) of highly bioavailable curcumin for one month and compared to unfed wild-type littermates (n=5 mice each group). Whole mount retinae were stained for microglia specific antigen Iba-1. Microglial density was determined by counting > 2000 cells per retina. 3D reconstruction and morphological analysis were performed using Neurolucida software (n=100 cells each group).

Results : GFAP-IL6 showed a significant increase in microglia density when compared against wild-type retinae. This increase can be completely reversed by the highest dose of bioavailable curcumin (140mg/kg) with lower doses reducing microglial numbers in a dose-dependent manner. Several changes in the morphology of microglia in GFAP-IL6 mice were observed, including a significant decrease in convex hull area (6500 to 4500 µm2) and a significant increase in soma area (50 to 60 µm2). However, these changes cannot be reversed to wild-type levels with any dosage of curcumin. Furthermore, Sholl analysis reveals a shift in dendritic complexity towards the soma when mice are treated with curcumin.

Conclusions : Microglial density is significantly upregulated in the GFAP-IL6 retinae in comparison to littermate wild-type controls, with morphological changes indicative of microglial activation. Curcumin feeding caused a dose-dependent reduction in microglial density in the GFAP-IL6 mice as well as a trend to cause dendritic retraction at any dosage.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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