Author(s): Leal EC, Aveleira CA, Castilho AF, Serra AM, Baptista FI,
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Abstract Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults. Retinal endothelial cell apoptosis is an early event in DR, and oxidative stress is known to play an important role in this pathology. Recently, we found that high glucose induces apoptosis in retinal neural cells by a caspase-independent mechanism. Here, we investigated the mechanisms underlying retinal endothelial cell apoptosis induced by high glucose and oxidative/nitrosative stress conditions. Endothelial cells (TR-iBRB2 rat retinal endothelial cell line) were exposed to high glucose (long-term exposure, 7 days), or to NOC-18 (nitric oxide donor; 250microM) or H(2)O(2) (100microM) for 24h. Cell viability was assessed by the MTT assay and cell proliferation by [methyl-(3)H]-thymidine incorporation into DNA. Apoptotic cells were detected with Hoechst or Annexin V staining. Active caspases were detected by an apoptosis detection kit. Active caspase-3 and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) protein levels were assessed by Western blot or immunohistochemistry. High glucose, NOC-18 and H(2)O(2) increased apoptosis in retinal endothelial cells. High glucose and mannitol decreased cell proliferation, but mannitol did not induce apoptosis. Caspase activation did not increase in high glucose- or NOC-18-treated cells, but it increased in cells exposed to H(2)O(2). However, the protein levels of AIF decreased in mitochondrial fractions and increased in nuclear fractions, in all conditions. These results are the first demonstrating that retinal endothelial cell apoptosis induced by high glucose is independent of caspase activation, and is correlated with AIF translocation to the nucleus. NOC-18 and H(2)O(2) also activate a caspase-independent apoptotic pathway, although H(2)O(2) can also induce caspase-mediated apoptosis.
This article was published in Exp Eye Res
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism