Get access

Inactivation of astroglial NF-κB promotes survival of retinal neurons following ischemic injury


Dr D. Ivanov and Dr V. I. Shestopalov, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, 1638 NW 10th Ave, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Reactive astrocytes have been implicated in neuronal loss following ischemic stroke. However, the molecular mechanisms associated with this process are yet to be fully elucidated. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that astroglial NF-κB, a key regulator of inflammatory responses, is a contributor to neuronal death following ischemic injury. We compared neuronal survival in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) after retinal ischemia-reperfusion in wild-type (WT) and in GFAP-IκBα-dn transgenic mice, where the NF-κB classical pathway is suppressed specifically in astrocytes. The GFAP-IκBα-dn mice showed significantly increased survival of neurons in the GCL following ischemic injury as compared with WT littermates. Neuroprotection was associated with significantly reduced expression of pro-inflammatory genes, encoding Tnf-α, Ccl2 (Mcp1), Cxcl10 (IP10), Icam1, Vcam1, several subunits of NADPH oxidase and NO-synthase in the retinas of GFAP-IκBα-dn mice. These data suggest that certain NF-κB-regulated pro-inflammatory and redox-active pathways are central to glial neurotoxicity induced by ischemic injury. The inhibition of these pathways in astrocytes may represent a feasible neuroprotective strategy for retinal ischemia and stroke.