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PLoS One. 2013 May 14;8(5):e64262. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064262. Print 2013.

The protective effects of the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (velcade) on ischemia-reperfusion injury in the rat retina.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, Ban-Chiao, Taipei, Taiwan.



To evaluate the protective effects of bortezomib (Velcade) on ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury in the rat retina.


The rats were randomized to receive treatment with saline, low-dose bortezomib (0.05 mg/kg), or high-dose bortezomib (0.2 mg/kg) before the induction of IR injury. Electroretinography (ERG) was used to assess functional changes in the retina. The expression of inflammatory mediators (iNOS, ICAM-1, MCP-1, TNF-α), anti-oxidant proteins (heme oxygenase, thioredoxin, peroxiredoxin), and pro-apoptotic proteins (p53, bax) were quantified by PCR and western blot analysis. An immunofluorescence study was performed to detect the expression of iNOS, oxidative markers (nitrotyrosine, 8-OHdG, acrolein), NF-κB p65, and CD 68. Apoptosis of retinal cells was labeled with in situ TUNEL staining. Neu-N staining was performed in the flat-mounted retina to evaluate the density of retinal ganglion cells.


ERG showed a decreased b-wave after IR injury, and pretreatment with bortezomib, especially the high dosage, reduced the functional impairment. Bortezomib successfully reduced the elevation of inflammatory mediators, anti-oxidant proteins, pro-apoptotic proteins and oxidative markers after IR insult in a dose-dependent manner. In a similar fashion, NF-κB p65- and CD 68-positive cells were decreased by bortezomib treatment. Retinal cell apoptosis in each layer was attenuated by bortezomib. The retinal ganglion cell density was markedly decreased in the saline and low-dose bortezomib groups but was not significantly changed in the high-dose bortezomib group.


Bortezomib had a neuro-protective effect in retinal IR injury, possibly by inhibiting the activation of NF-κB related to IR insult and reducing the inflammatory signals and oxidative stress in the retina.

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