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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Jan 23;54(1):682-90. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10888.

Paraquat-induced retinal degeneration is exaggerated in CX3CR1-deficient mice and is associated with increased retinal inflammation.

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Centre for Vision and Vascular Science, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.



To investigate the role of the Fractalkine receptor CX3CR1 pathway in oxidative insults-mediated retinal degeneration and immune activation.


A prooxidant, paraquat (0.75 μM) was injected into the vitreous of C57BL/6J, CX3CR1(gpf/+), and CX3CR1(gfp/gfp) mice. Retinal lesions were investigated clinically by topic endoscopic fundus imaging and fluorescence angiography, and pathologically by light- and electron microscopy. Retinal immune gene expression was determined by real-time RT-PCR. Microglial activation and immune cell infiltration were examined by confocal microscopy of retinal flatmounts.


Intravitreal injection of paraquat (0.75 μM) resulted in acute retinal capillary nonperfusion within 2 days, which improved from 4 days to 4 weeks postinjection (p.i.). Panretinal degeneration was observed at 4 days p.i. and progressed further at 4 weeks p.i. In the absence of CX3CR1, retinal degeneration was exaggerated and was accompanied by increased TNF-α, iNOS, IL-1β, Ccl2, and Casp-1 gene expression. Confocal microscopy of retinal flatmounts revealed microglial activation and CD44(+)MHC-II(+) monocyte and GR1(+) neutrophil infiltration in paraquat-injected eyes. The number of activated microglia and infiltrating leukocytes was significantly higher in CX3CR1(gfp/gfp) mice than in CX3CR1(gfp/+) mice.


Our results suggest that the CX3CR1 signaling pathway may play an important role in controlling retinal inflammation under oxidative and ischemia/reperfusion conditions. In the absence of CX3CR1, uncontrolled retinal inflammation results in exaggerated retinal degeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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