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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 6;7:43470. doi: 10.1038/srep43470.

Ischemic injury leads to extracellular matrix alterations in retina and optic nerve.

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Department of Cell Morphology and Molecular Neurobiology, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany.
Experimental Eye Research Institute, University Eye Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum, In der Schornau 23-25, 44892 Bochum, Germany.


Retinal ischemia occurs in a variety of eye diseases. Restrained blood flow induces retinal damage, which leads to progressive optic nerve degeneration and vision loss. Previous studies indicate that extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents play an important role in complex tissues, such as retina and optic nerve. They have great impact on de- and regeneration processes and represent major candidates of central nervous system glial scar formation. Nevertheless, the importance of the ECM during ischemic retina and optic nerve neurodegeneration is not fully understood yet. In this study, we analyzed remodeling of the extracellular glycoproteins fibronectin, laminin, tenascin-C and tenascin-R and the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) aggrecan, brevican and phosphacan/RPTPβ/ζ in retinae and optic nerves of an ischemia/reperfusion rat model via quantitative real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western blot. A variety of ECM constituents were dysregulated in the retina and optic nerve after ischemia. Regarding fibronectin, significantly elevated mRNA and protein levels were observed in the retina following ischemia, while laminin and tenascin-C showed enhanced immunoreactivity in the optic nerve after ischemia. Interestingly, CSPGs displayed significantly increased expression levels in the optic nerve. Our study demonstrates a dynamic expression of ECM molecules following retinal ischemia, which strengthens their regulatory role during neurodegeneration.

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