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Retinal neuroprotection by hypoxic preconditioning is independent of hypoxia-inducible factor-1a expression in photoreceptors


Thiersch, M; Lange, C; Joly, S; Heynen, S; Le, Y Z; Samardzija, M; Grimm, C (2009). Retinal neuroprotection by hypoxic preconditioning is independent of hypoxia-inducible factor-1a expression in photoreceptors. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29(12):2291-2302.

Abstract

Hypoxic preconditioning stabilizes hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1alpha in the retina and protects photoreceptors against light-induced cell death. HIF-1alpha is one of the major transcription factors responding to low oxygen tension and can differentially regulate a large number of target genes. To analyse whether photoreceptor-specific expression of HIF-1alpha is essential to protect photoreceptors by hypoxic preconditioning, we knocked down expression of HIF-1alpha specifically in photoreceptor cells, using the cyclization recombinase (Cre)-lox system. The Cre-mediated knockdown caused a 20-fold reduced expression of Hif-1alpha in the photoreceptor cell layer. In the total retina, RNA expression was reduced by 65%, and hypoxic preconditioning led to only a small increase in HIF-1alpha protein levels. Accordingly, HIF-1 target gene expression after hypoxia was significantly diminished. Retinas of Hif-1alpha knockdown animals did not show any pathological alterations, and tolerated hypoxic exposure in a comparable way to wild-type retinas. Importantly, the strong neuroprotective effect of hypoxic preconditioning against light-induced photoreceptor degeneration persisted in knockdown mice, suggesting that hypoxia-mediated survival of light exposure does not depend on an autocrine action of HIF-1alpha in photoreceptor cells. Hypoxia-mediated stabilization of HIF-2alpha and phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT 3) were not affected in the retinas of Hif-1alpha knockdown mice. Thus, these factors are candidates for regulating the resistance of photoreceptors to light damage after hypoxic preconditioning, along with several potentially neuroprotective genes that were similarly induced in hypoxic knockdown and control mice.

Hypoxic preconditioning stabilizes hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1alpha in the retina and protects photoreceptors against light-induced cell death. HIF-1alpha is one of the major transcription factors responding to low oxygen tension and can differentially regulate a large number of target genes. To analyse whether photoreceptor-specific expression of HIF-1alpha is essential to protect photoreceptors by hypoxic preconditioning, we knocked down expression of HIF-1alpha specifically in photoreceptor cells, using the cyclization recombinase (Cre)-lox system. The Cre-mediated knockdown caused a 20-fold reduced expression of Hif-1alpha in the photoreceptor cell layer. In the total retina, RNA expression was reduced by 65%, and hypoxic preconditioning led to only a small increase in HIF-1alpha protein levels. Accordingly, HIF-1 target gene expression after hypoxia was significantly diminished. Retinas of Hif-1alpha knockdown animals did not show any pathological alterations, and tolerated hypoxic exposure in a comparable way to wild-type retinas. Importantly, the strong neuroprotective effect of hypoxic preconditioning against light-induced photoreceptor degeneration persisted in knockdown mice, suggesting that hypoxia-mediated survival of light exposure does not depend on an autocrine action of HIF-1alpha in photoreceptor cells. Hypoxia-mediated stabilization of HIF-2alpha and phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT 3) were not affected in the retinas of Hif-1alpha knockdown mice. Thus, these factors are candidates for regulating the resistance of photoreceptors to light damage after hypoxic preconditioning, along with several potentially neuroprotective genes that were similarly induced in hypoxic knockdown and control mice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Ophthalmology Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:8 June 2009
Deposited On:15 Jun 2009 08:39
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:16
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0953-816X
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06781.x
PubMed ID:19508692
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-19220

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