Author(s): Ni YQ, Gan DK, Xu HD, Xu GZ, Da CD
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Abstract Direct electrical stimulation of neural tissues is a strategic approach to treat injured axons by accelerating their outgrowth [Al-Majed, A.A., Neumann, C.M., Brushart, T.M., Gordon, T., 2000. Brief electrical stimulation promotes the speed and accuracy of motor axonal regeneration. J. Neurosci. 20, 2602-2608] and promoting their regeneration [Geremia, N.M., Gordon, T., Brushart, T.M., Al-Majed, A.A., Verge, V.M.K., 2007. Electrical stimulation promotes sensory neuron regeneration and growth-associated gene expression. Exp. Neurol. 205, 347-359]. Recently, transcorneal electrical stimulation (TCES), a novel less invasive method, has been shown to rescue axotomized and damaged retinal ganglion cells [Morimoto, T., Miyoshi, T., Matsuda, S., Tano, Y., Fujikado, T., Fukuda, Y., 2005. Transcorneal electrical stimulation rescues axotomized retinal ganglion cells by activating endogenous retinal IGF-1 system. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 46(6), 2147-2155]. Here, we investigated the neuroprotection of TCES on light-induced photoreceptor degeneration and the underlying mechanism. Adult male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats received TCES before (pre-TCES) or after (post-TCES) intense light exposure. After fourteen days of light exposure, retinal histology and electroretinography were performed to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of TCES. The mRNA and protein levels of apoptotic-associated genes including Bcl-2, Bax, Caspase-3 as well as ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the retinas were determined by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. The localization of these gene products in the retinas was examined by immunohistochemistry. Both pre- and post-TCES ameliorated the progressive photoreceptor degeneration. The degree of rescue depended on the strength of the electric charge. Post-TCES showed a relatively better and longer-term protective effect than pre-TCES. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis revealed an upregulation of Bcl-2, CNTF, and BDNF and a downregulation of Bax in the retinas after TCES. Immunohistochemical studies showed that Bcl-2 and CNTF were selectively upregulated in Müller cells. These findings provide a new therapeutic method to prevent or delay photoreceptor degeneration through activating the intrinsic survival system.
This article was published in Exp Neurol
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation