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Exp Eye Res. 2006 Sep;83(3):679-87. Epub 2006 May 8.

Regulation of cysteine cathepsin expression by oxidative stress in the retinal pigment epithelium/choroid of the mouse.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Research Lab, University of California at Davis, School of Medicine, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Cystatin C is the major inhibitor of the cysteine cathepsins. Polymorphisms in the cystatin C gene have recently been associated with the risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Oxidative stress is also thought to play a key role in the pathogenesis of AMD. We surveyed the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and choroid of the C57BL/6J mouse for the expression of the cysteine cathepsins under normoxic and hyperoxic (75% O(2)) conditions. Microarray analysis of RPE/choroid mRNA revealed the expression of cathepsins B and L, as well as cystatin C under all experimental conditions. The microarray results were confirmed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Localization of the mRNA species for cystatin C and cathepsin B, as well as, localization of protein species for cystatin C, cathepsins B and L were performed to evaluate the tissue distribution of these species. Our results indicate that cystatin C is largely synthesized in the RPE and secreted from the basal side. Cathepsin B is the major cysteine protease in the RPE and choroid. The expression of all mRNAs and proteins was elevated by exposure to oxidative stress.

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