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Linya Li, Shaoqing He, Yang Liu, Thomas Yorio, Dorette Z. Ellis; Sigma-1R Protects Retinal Ganglion Cells in Optic Nerve Crush Model for Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(10):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.10.17.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the Sigma-1R (σ-1r) on retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival following optic nerve crush (ONC) and the signaling mechanism involved in the σ-1r protection.
The overall strategy was to induce injury by ONC and mitigate RGC death by increasing σ-1r expression and/or activate σ-1r activity in σ-1r K/O mice and wild type (WT) mice. AAV2-σ-1r vector was used to increase σ-1r expression and σ-1r agonist used to activate the σ-1r and RGCs were counted. Immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis determined phosphorylated (p)-c-Jun, c-Jun, and Caspase-3. Pattern electroretinography (PERG) determined RGC activity.
RGC counts and function were similar in pentazocine-treated WT mice when compared to untreated mice and in WT mice when compared with σ-1r K/O mice. Pentazocine-induced effects and the effects of σ-1r K/O were only observable after ONC. ONC resulted in decreased RGC counts and activity in both WT and σ-1r K/O mice, with σ-1r K/O mice experiencing significant decreases compared with WT mice. The σ-1r transgenic expression resulted in increased RGC counts and activity following ONC. In WT mice, treatment with σ-1r agonist pentazocine resulted in increased RGC counts and increased activity when compared with untreated WT mice. There were time-dependent increases in c-jun, p-c-jun, and caspase-3 expression in ONC mice that were mitigated with pentazocine-treatment.
These findings suggest that the apoptotic pathway is involved in RGC losses seen in an ONC model. The σ-1r offers neuroprotection, as activation and/or transgenic expression of σ-1r attenuated the apoptotic pathway and restored RGCs number and function following ONC.
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