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Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 6;8(1):13321. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30165-7.

Different contributions of autophagy to retinal ganglion cell death in the diabetic and glaucomatous retinas.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. ckpark@catholic.ac.kr.

Abstract

Diabetes mellitus and glaucoma are the two major causes of selective retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death. To determine the relationship between autophagy and RGC death, we compared autophagy and the related molecular pathways in diabetic and glaucomatous retinas and examined their effect on RGC survival. Biochemical analysis of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3)-II and beclin-1 were observed. To determine the pathways involved in autophagy induction, adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) were also explored. Beclin-1 and the LC3B-II to LC3B-I ratio significantly elevated at 4 and 8 weeks after glaucoma induction; however, only a slight increase was apparent in the diabetic retina. Significant upregulation of phosphorylated AMPK and downregulation of phosphorylated mTOR was evident in the diabetic retina. After autophagy was inhibited with 3-methyladenine (3-MA), apoptosis of RGCs was significantly increased in the diabetic retinas. However, 3-MA inhibition of autophagy decreased the apoptosis of RGCs in glaucomatous retinas. Therefore, our results suggest that RGC death is differentially regulated by autophagy and that the pathways involved differ depending on the triggering injury.

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