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Blue light-induced retinal lesions, intraretinal vascular leakage and edema formation in the all-cone mouse retina


Geiger, P; Barben, M; Grimm, C; Samardzija, M (2015). Blue light-induced retinal lesions, intraretinal vascular leakage and edema formation in the all-cone mouse retina. Cell Death and Disease, 6:e1985.

Abstract

Little is known about the mechanisms underlying macular degenerations, mainly for the scarcity of adequate experimental models to investigate cone cell death. Recently, we generated R91W;Nrl(-/-) double-mutant mice, which display a well-ordered all-cone retina with normal retinal vasculature and a strong photopic function that generates useful vision. Here we exposed R91W;Nrl(-/-) and wild-type (wt) mice to toxic levels of blue light and analyzed their retinas at different time points post illumination (up to 10 days). While exposure of wt mice resulted in massive pyknosis in a focal region of the outer nuclear layer (ONL), the exposure of R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice led to additional cell death detected within the inner nuclear layer. Microglia/macrophage infiltration at the site of injury was more pronounced in the all-cone retina of R91W;Nrl(-/-) than in wt mice. Similarly, vascular leakage was abundant in the inner and outer retina in R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice, whereas it was mild and restricted to the subretinal space in wt mice. This was accompanied by retinal swelling and the appearance of cystoid spaces in both inner and ONLs of R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice indicating edema in affected areas. In addition, basal expression levels of tight junction protein-1 encoding ZO1 were lower in R91W;Nrl(-/-) than in wt retinas. Collectively, our data suggest that exposure of R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice to blue light not only induces cone cell death but also disrupts the inner blood-retinal barrier. Macular edema in humans is a result of diffuse capillary leakage and microaneurysms in the macular region. Blue light exposure of the R91W;Nrl(-/-) mouse could therefore be used to study molecular events preceding edema formation in a cone-rich environment, and thus potentially help to develop treatment strategies for edema-based complications in macular degenerations.

Little is known about the mechanisms underlying macular degenerations, mainly for the scarcity of adequate experimental models to investigate cone cell death. Recently, we generated R91W;Nrl(-/-) double-mutant mice, which display a well-ordered all-cone retina with normal retinal vasculature and a strong photopic function that generates useful vision. Here we exposed R91W;Nrl(-/-) and wild-type (wt) mice to toxic levels of blue light and analyzed their retinas at different time points post illumination (up to 10 days). While exposure of wt mice resulted in massive pyknosis in a focal region of the outer nuclear layer (ONL), the exposure of R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice led to additional cell death detected within the inner nuclear layer. Microglia/macrophage infiltration at the site of injury was more pronounced in the all-cone retina of R91W;Nrl(-/-) than in wt mice. Similarly, vascular leakage was abundant in the inner and outer retina in R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice, whereas it was mild and restricted to the subretinal space in wt mice. This was accompanied by retinal swelling and the appearance of cystoid spaces in both inner and ONLs of R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice indicating edema in affected areas. In addition, basal expression levels of tight junction protein-1 encoding ZO1 were lower in R91W;Nrl(-/-) than in wt retinas. Collectively, our data suggest that exposure of R91W;Nrl(-/-) mice to blue light not only induces cone cell death but also disrupts the inner blood-retinal barrier. Macular edema in humans is a result of diffuse capillary leakage and microaneurysms in the macular region. Blue light exposure of the R91W;Nrl(-/-) mouse could therefore be used to study molecular events preceding edema formation in a cone-rich environment, and thus potentially help to develop treatment strategies for edema-based complications in macular degenerations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Ophthalmology Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:27 Nov 2015 12:58
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:33
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-4889
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/cddis.2015.333
PubMed ID:26583326
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-115031

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