Author(s): Tang Y, Liu X, Zoltoski RK, Novak LA, Herrera RA,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Previous studies have demonstrated that in 129alpha3Cx46-/- mice, age-related nuclear cataract is formed. In the present study, a more in vivo-relevant model was generated to test the hypothesis that the calpain 3 gene is involved in age-related nuclear cataractogenesis in alpha3Cx46 knockout mice. METHODS: To test the hypothesis that the calpain 3 gene is involved in age-related nuclear cataractogenesis in alpha3Cx46 knockout mice, 129alpha3Cx46-/- and CAPN3-/- mice were mated to generate homozygous double-knockout (dKO) mice. Lenses from the mice were examined by visual observation, laser scan analysis, and histologic and biochemical methods. RESULTS: In the absence of the CAPN3 gene, the formation of a cataract was delayed, and its appearance was changed to a more diffuse, pulverulent type. Unlike in the 129alpha3Cx46-/- mouse, cleavage of gamma-crystallin was not detected in the dKO mouse. In both 129alpha3Cx46-/- and dKO mice, total Ca2+ increased. CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows for the first time that calpain 3 is necessary for the formation of age-dependent nuclear cataracts in alpha3Cx46-/- mice. Evidence that the calpain 3 gene is directly involved in, or part of the pathway that leads to, gamma-crystallin cleavage is presented. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the loss of alpha3Cx46 leads to increased levels of Ca2+ ions, and this increase activates the CAPN3 isoform, Lp82/85, which results in the formation of a nuclear cataract.
This article was published in Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology