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Joost Brinks, Elon H. C. van Dijk, Mahmoud Habeeb, Aikaterini Nikolaou, Roula Tsonaka, Hendrika A. B. Peters, Hetty C. M. Sips, Arjanneke F. van de Merbel, Eiko K. de Jong, Robbert G. E. Notenboom, Szymon M. Kielbasa, Silvère M. van der Maarel, Paul H. A. Quax, Onno C. Meijer, Camiel J. F. Boon; The Effect of Corticosteroids on Human Choroidal Endothelial Cells: A Model to Study Central Serous Chorioretinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(13):5682-5692. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-25054.
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To isolate, culture, and characterize primary human choroidal endothelial cells, and to assess their responsiveness to corticosteroids, in order to enable knowledge gain on the pathogenesis of central serous chorioretinopathy.
Choroidal endothelial cells were isolated from cadaveric human donors. Magnetic-activated cell sorting with anti-human CD31 was performed for choroidal endothelial cell isolation. Primary cultures of purified choroidal endothelial cells were treated with several regimens of corticosteroids and analyzed for effects on primary corticosteroid responsive genes.
Isolated choroidal endothelial cell cultures had a cobblestone appearance in monolayer cultures and stained positive for vascular endothelial cadherin. Moreover, on a 3D-Matrigel matrix, these cells formed capillary-like structures, characteristic of in vitro endothelial cells. Primary cultures of purified choroidal endothelial cells treated with several regimens of corticosteroids demonstrated significant transcriptional upregulation of primary corticosteroid responsive genes (FKBP5, PER1, GILZ, and SGK1). Further pharmacologic analysis using specific agonists (dexamethasone, aldosterone) and antagonists (mifepristone, spironolactone) for either the glucocorticoid receptor or the mineralocorticoid receptor showed that this response was exclusively mediated by the glucocorticoid receptor in our model.
With this optimized choroidal endothelial cell isolation and culturing protocol, we have established an in vitro model that appears very suitable for research on both central serous chorioretinopathy and other diseases in which corticosteroids and choroidal endothelial cells are involved. Our model proves to be suitable for studying effects mediated through the glucocorticoid receptor. The role of mineralocorticoid receptor-mediated effects needs further research, both in vivo and in cell model development.
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