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Glyn Chidlow, John P. M. Wood, Paul I. Sia, Robert J. Casson; Distribution and Activity of Mitochondrial Proteins in Vascular and Avascular Retinas: Implications for Retinal Metabolism. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(1):331-344. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-25536.
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Understanding the energetics of retinal neurons and glia is crucial for developing therapies for diseases that feature deficits in nutrient or oxygen availability. Herein, we performed a detailed characterization of the distribution and activity of mitochondrial proteins in the vascularized retinas of rat and marmoset, and the avascular retinas of rabbit and guinea pig. Further, we delineated expression of ubiquitous mitochondrial creatine kinase (uMtCK).
Expression of eight mitochondrial proteins was investigated using Western blotting, single- and double-labeling immunohistochemistry. Activities of cytochrome c oxidase, succinate dehydrgogenase, and isocitrate dehydrogenase were determined by enzyme histochemistry using unfixed tissue sections.
In vascularized retinas, immunoreactivities were characterized by strong, punctate labeling in the plexiform layers, photoreceptor inner segments, somas of various cell types, notably retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), and the basolateral surface of the retinal pigment epithelium. In avascular retinas, immunoreactivities featured intense labeling of inner segments, together with weak, but unambiguous, staining of both plexiform layers. RGCs were relatively enriched. In Müller cells of avascular retinas, mitochondria were restricted to scleral-end processes. For each species, enzyme activity assays yielded similar results to the protein distributions. Labeling for uMtCK in vascular and avascular retinas was fundamentally similar, being restricted to neuronal populations, most notably inner segments and RGCs. Of all of the mitochondrial proteins, uMtCK displayed the strongest labeling in avascular retinas. uMtCK was not detectable in Müller cells in any species.
The current findings advance our understanding of the metabolic similarities and differences between vascular and avascular retinas.
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