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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Apr;51(4):2177-84. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-4439. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Inhibition of retinal detachment-induced apoptosis in photoreceptors by a small peptide inhibitor of the fas receptor.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, W. K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



To test the effect of a small peptide inhibitor (Met12) of the Fas receptor on the activation of extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways after retinal detachment.


Retinal-RPE separation was created in Brown Norway rats by subretinal injection of 1% hyaluronic acid. Met12, derived from the Fas-binding extracellular domain of the oncoprotein Met, was injected into the subretinal space at the time of separation. A mutant peptide and vehicle administered in a similar fashion acted as inactive controls. The extrinsic apoptotic pathway was induced in 661W cells using a Fas-activating antibody in the presence or absence of Met12. Caspase 3, caspase 8, and caspase 9 activities were measured with calorimetric and luminescent assays in retinal extracts and cell lysates. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) was performed in retinal sections 3 days after separation. Histology was performed in retinal sections 2 months after retinal detachment.


Met12 inhibited Fas-induced caspase 8 activation in 661W cells. Similarly, administration of Met12 into the subretinal space inhibited the activation of caspase 3, caspase 8, and caspase 9 after retinal detachment. This corresponded to a decreased level of TUNEL-positive staining of photoreceptors after retinal-RPE separation in animals that received Met12, but not inactive mutant, peptide treatment. After 2 months, the outer nuclear layer was significantly thicker, and the photoreceptor count was higher in animals treated with subretinal Met12.


The small peptide Met12 may serve as a photoreceptor-protective agent in the setting of retinal-RPE separation.

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