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Jarrod C. Harman, Jessie J. Guidry, Jeffrey M. Gidday; Intermittent Hypoxia Promotes Functional Neuroprotection from Retinal Ischemia in Untreated First-Generation Offspring: Proteomic Mechanistic Insights. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(11):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.11.15.
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Stress can lead to short- or long-term changes in phenotype. Accumulating evidence also supports the transmission of maladaptive phenotypes, induced by adverse stressors, through the germline to manifest in subsequent generations, providing a novel mechanistic basis for the heritability of disease. In the present study in mice, we tested the hypothesis that repeated presentations of a nonharmful conditioning stress, demonstrated previously to protect against retinal ischemia, will also provide ischemic protection in the retinae of their untreated, first-generation (F1) adult offspring.
Swiss–Webster ND4 outbred mice were mated following a 16-week period of brief, every-other-day conditioning exposures to mild systemic hypoxia (repetitive hypoxic conditioning, RHC). Retinae of their 5-month-old F1 progeny were subjected to unilateral ischemia. Scotopic electroretinography quantified postischemic outcomes. The injury-resilient retinal proteome was revealed by quantitative mass spectrometry, and bioinformatic analyses identified the biochemical pathways and networks in which these differentially expressed proteins operate.
Significant resilience to injury in both sexes was documented in F1 mice derived from RHC-treated parents, relative to matched F1 adult progeny derived from normoxic control parents. Ischemia-induced increases and decreases in the expression of many visual transduction proteins that are integral to photoreceptor function were abrogated by parental RHC, providing a molecular basis for the observed functional protection.
Our proteomic analyses provided mechanistic insights into the molecular manifestation of the inherited, injury-resilient phenotype. To our knowledge, this is the first study in a mammalian model documenting the reprogramming of heritability to promote disease resilience in the next generation.
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