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Brain Res. 2005 Aug 30;1054(2):103-15.

Long-term activation of c-Fos and c-Jun in optic nerve head astrocytes in experimental ocular hypertension in monkeys and after exposure to elevated pressure in vitro.

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  • 1Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Niigata University Graduate School, 1-757 Asahimachi, Niigata 951-8510, Japan.


This study investigates whether the immediate early gene (IEG) products c-Fos and c-Jun are activated in vivo in monkeys with experimental glaucoma, and in vitro in cultured human ONH astrocytes exposed to hydrostatic pressure (HP). Three Rhesus monkeys with mild glaucomatous damage (mean intraocular pressure (IOP) 27 +/- 1.3 mm Hg approximately 42 weeks) and three with moderate glaucomatous damage (mean IOP 44 +/- 6.7% mm Hg approximately 11 weeks) were used for this study; the contralateral eye served as normal control (mean IOP 18.6 +/- 1.7 mm Hg). ONH tissues were stained with GFAP, DAPI, and c-Jun or c-Fos, and transcription factor positive and negative nuclei were counted to determine nuclear localization. Cultured human normal and glaucomatous ONH astrocytes exposed to elevated HP served as the in vitro model of elevated pressure. Activation and nuclear localization of c-Fos and c-Jun increased significantly in the monkeys with elevated IOP. These data correlated with axonal loss, reactive astrocytes, and remodeling of the optic disc. Cultured human ONH astrocytes showed increased nuclear localization of c-Fos and c-Jun under exposure to HP. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the upstream regulators of c-Fos and c-Jun, ERK-MAPK and MAPKp38 localized to the nuclei of ONH astrocytes in monkeys with experimental glaucoma. Taken together, these results demonstrate c-Fos and c-Jun activation in ONH astrocytes in vivo and in vitro, and that activation of both transcription factors is associated with ERK and MAPKp38 activation in experimental glaucoma, suggesting that activation of transcription factors may participate in the induction and maintenance of the reactive astrocyte phenotype in glaucomatous optic neuropathy.

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