Caspase inhibitors protect against NMDA-mediated retinal ganglion cell death
Version of Record online: 23 FEB 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology © 2011 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology
Volume 39, Issue 6, pages 545–554, August 2011
How to Cite
Schuettauf, F., Stein, T., Choragiewicz, T. J., Rejdak, R., Bolz, S., Zurakowski, D., Varde, M. A., Laties, A. M. and Thaler, S. (2011), Caspase inhibitors protect against NMDA-mediated retinal ganglion cell death. Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, 39: 545–554. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2010.02486.x
- Issue online: 7 AUG 2011
- Version of Record online: 23 FEB 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 22 DEC 2010 11:49AM EST
- Received 18 August 2010; accepted 15 November 2010.
- caspase inhibitor;
- retinal ganglion cell
Background: Apoptosis is a major mechanism of cell death in glutamate-induced excitotoxicity and caspases as the executors of apoptosis play an important role in the development of various central nervous system and eye diseases. We studied the involvement of certain caspases in excitotoxic retinal ganglion cell death, which was experimentally induced in Brown Norway Rats by application of the glutamate receptor agonist N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA).
Methods: Animals were injected intravitreally with one of six caspase inhibitors (against caspases 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9). Seven hours later, NMDA or phosphate-buffered saline as a control was injected intravitreally into the respective eyes. The neuroprotective potential against NMDA toxicity was assessed by retinal ganglion cell quantification. Additionally, wholemount TUNEL was performed.
Results: Statistical analysis revealed significant neuroprotective effects for the inhibitors of caspases 3, 6, 8 and 9, but not for those of caspases 1 and 4. The inhibitors of caspases 6 and 9 showed greater neuroprotective potential than those of caspases 3 and 8, although cell death was not entirely averted in any case. Results of ganglion cell counts were confirmed for the most pronounced treatment groups using wholemount TUNEL.
Conclusion: Excitotoxic retinal ganglion cell death after NMDA injection is mediated mainly through apoptosis, whereby extrinsic as well as intrinsic pathways of caspase activation play a role.