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Front Mol Neurosci. 2018 Nov 27;11:432. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00432. eCollection 2018.

Mitochondrial Fission Is Required for Blue Light-Induced Apoptosis and Mitophagy in Retinal Neuronal R28 Cells.

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Research Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Affiliated Eye Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.
National Engineering Technology Research Center for LED on Silicon Substrate, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.
Department of Intra-Hospital Infection Management, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.
Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Science, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.


Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are widely used to provide illumination due to their low energy requirements and high brightness. However, the LED spectrum contains an intense blue light component which is phototoxic to the retina. Recently, it has been reported that blue light may directly impinge on mitochondrial function in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Mitochondria are high dynamic organelles that undergo frequent fission and fusion events. The aim of our study was to elucidate the role of mitochondrial dynamics in blue light-induced damage in retinal neuronal R28 cells. We found that exposure to blue light (450 nm, 1000 lx) for up to 12 h significantly up-regulated the expression of mitochondrial fission protein Drp1, while down-regulating the expression of mitochondrial fusion protein Mfn2 in cells. Mitochondrial fission was simultaneously stimulated by blue light irradiation. In addition, exposure to blue light increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), disrupted mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and induced apoptosis in R28 cells. Notably, Drp1 inhibitor Mdivi-1 and Drp1 RNAi not only attenuated blue light-induced mitochondrial fission, but also alleviated blue light-induced ROS production, MMP disruption and apoptosis in cells. Compared with Mdivi-1 and Drp1 RNAi, the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) only slightly inhibited mitochondrial fission, while significantly alleviating apoptosis after blue light exposure. Moreover, we examined markers for mitophagy, which is responsible for the clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria. It was found that blue light stimulated the conversion of LC3B-I to LC3B-II as well as the expression of PINK1 in R28 cells. Mdivi-1 or Drp1 RNAi efficiently inhibited the blue light-induced expression of PINK1 and co-localization of LC3 with mitochondria. Thus, our data suggest that mitochondrial fission is required for blue light-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in RGCs.


apoptosis; blue light; mitochondrial fission; mitophagy; retinal neuronal cells

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