Author(s): Li YH, Zhuo YH, L L, Chen LY, Huang XH,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Neural apoptosis is generally believed to be mediated by two distinct pathways, caspase-dependant and caspase-independent pathways. This study investigated the apoptotic pathways involved in retinal ganglion cells in acute diabetes in rats. METHODS: Diabetes was induced in male Wistar rats by a peritoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ). Expression and localization of caspase-3 and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) proteins in the retina of diabetic rats was examined by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry analyses. Terminal transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and immunofluorescent staining specific for caspase-3 and AIF were applied to analyze for apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells. In addition, a caspase-3 inhibitor DEVD-CHO was injected intravitreally to further determine the apoptotic pathways of retinal ganglion cells triggered in acute diabetes. RESULTS: Two weeks after induction of diabetes, a significant increase in caspase-3 protein expression and localization occurred in the nerve fiber layer, ganglion cell layer, and inner plexiform layer of the retina. Four weeks after the onset of diabetes, the increase in caspase-3 expression was profound eight weeks postinduction of diabetes (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, no AIF protein expression was detected in this study. In addition, intravitreal administration of the caspase-3 inhibitor DEVD-CHO reduced apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells by its direct inhibitory action on caspase-3. CONCLUSION: Caspase-dependent apoptotic pathways may be the main stimulant of STZ-induced retinal ganglion cell apoptosis in acute diabetes.
This article was published in Chin Med J (Engl)
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research