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Marielle Mentek, Jessica Morand, Marie Baldazza, Gilles Faury, Florent Aptel, Jean Louis Pepin, Diane Godin-Ribuot, Christophe Chiquet; Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia Alters Rat Ophthalmic Artery Reactivity Through Oxidative Stress, Endothelin and Endothelium-Derived Hyperpolarizing Pathways. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(12):5256-5265. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-25151.
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Obstructive sleep apnea recently has been associated with a higher frequency of ischemic optic neuropathies. Intermittent hypoxia (IH) has been proposed as a major component of obstructive sleep apnea cardiovascular consequences. However, there currently are no pathophysiologic data regarding the effect of IH on the ocular vascular system. Thus, we assessed the impact of chronic IH exposure on the morphology and vascular reactivity of the rat ophthalmic artery (OA).
Rats were exposed to 14 days of IH or normoxia (NX). Ophthalmic artery reactivity was studied using wire myography in rats treated or not with tempol (1 mM/day). Expression of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and its receptors, and of the three nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoform genes was quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) in the retina and optic nerve. Structural alterations (optical and electron microscopy) and superoxide anion production were studied in OA sections.
Superoxide ion expression in the OA wall was increased by 23% after IH exposure. Ophthalmic artery contractile response to 3.10−8 M ET-1 was increased by 18.6% and nitric oxide-mediated relaxation was significantly delayed in IH compared to NX rats. In the absence of nitric oxide, cytochrome P450 blockade increased relaxation to acetylcholine in IH rats and delayed it in NX rats. Tempol treatment abolished the IH-induced changes in OA reactivity.
These results strongly suggest that chronic IH induces oxidative stress in the rat OA, associated with endothelial dysfunction through alterations of nitric oxide and endothelium-derived hyperpolarising factors (EDHF) pathways.
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