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BMC Ophthalmol. 2019 Jun 17;19(1):130. doi: 10.1186/s12886-019-1142-x.

Nerve growth factor promotes the proliferation of Müller cells co-cultured with internal limiting membrane by regulating cell cycle via Trk-A/PI3K/Akt pathway.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, People's Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College, 158 Shangtang Road Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310014, China.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, People's Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College, 158 Shangtang Road Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310014, China. eyewmq@126.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Nerve growth factor (NGF), produced by Müller cells, and internal limiting membrane (ILM) have fundamental roles in the development of full-thickness macular hole (FTMH). However, the potential crosstalk between NGF and ILM in FTMH is unclear. This study aimed to explore the mechanism and effects of NGF on the proliferation of Müller cells co-cultured with ILM.

METHODS:

Primary Müller cells and ILM from New Zealand rabbits were extracted and authenticated with specific staining. Müller cells co-cultured with or without ILM were exposed to NGF and then analysed. Müller cell viability was estimated using cell counting kit-8. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry. The levels of cell cycle-related gene were detected using qRT-PCR. The TrK-A/Akt signal axis and downstream signaling cascades such as p21, CyclinE, CDK2, CyclinD1, and CDK4 were investigated by western blotting.

RESULTS:

ILM treatment alone induced the proliferation of Müller cells following the promotion of phosphorylated Akt, while growth of Müller cells was enhanced by activation of the Trk-A/Akt pathway under the stimulation of NGF or NGF + ILM. Additionally, the ratio of S-phase cells was increased, while G2-phase cells decreased upon the treatment with either ILM or NGF alone, or with NGF + ILM co-treatment. Cell cycle-related genes such as CyclinD1, CyclinE, CDK2, and CDK4 were all upregulated, but p21 expression was downregulated in the presence of NGF, ILM, or NGF + ILM. There was an additive effect on cell proliferation and cell cycle in the group of Müller cells exposed to NGF co-cultured with ILM compared with either NGF or ILM treatment alone. However, both K252ɑ (inhibitors of Trk-A) and LY294002 (inhibitor for Akt) counteracted the effect of NGF or NGF + ILM on the protein levels of Trk-A, Akt, CyclinD1, CyclinE, CDK2, and p21.

CONCLUSIONS:

Müller cells co-cultured with ILM or NGF promoted cell proliferation by regulating cell cycle-correlated proteins via the PI3K/Akt pathway. ILM + NGF further amplified the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway by binding to Trk-A, leading to more cell growth. This study provides new insight into the potential mechanism of NGF-mediated proliferation of Müller cells co-cultured with or without ILM, which may have considerable impact on therapies for FTMH.

KEYWORDS:

Cell cycle; Cell proliferation; Internal limiting membrane; Müller cells; Nerve growth factor; Proliferation-related pathway

PMID:
31208396
PMCID:
PMC6580575
DOI:
10.1186/s12886-019-1142-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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