Safety and efficacy of intravitreal injection of recombinant erythropoietin for protection of photoreceptor cells in a rat model of retinal detachment.
ABSTRACT To elucidate the safety and efficacy of exogenous erythropoietin (EPO) for the protection of photoreceptor cells in a rat model of retinal detachment (RD).
Recombinant rat EPO (400 ng) was injected into the vitreous cavity of normal rats to observe the eye manifestations. Retinal function was assessed by flash electroretinograms. Histopathological examination of retinal tissue was performed at 14 days and 2 months after injection, respectively. To investigate the inhibitory effect of EPO on photoreceptor cell apoptosis in RD rats, 100, 200, or 400 ng EPO was injected into the vitreous cavity immediately after RD model establishment. Apoptosis of photoreceptor cells was determined at 3 days after injection. Caspase-3 activation was measured by western blot analysis and immunofluorescence, respectively, and the level of Bcl-X(L) expression was analyzed by western blot.
Intravitreal injection of EPO 400 ng into normal rats had no significant impact on retinal function, morphology, or structure. Apoptosis of retinal photoreceptor cells apparently increased after RD and was significantly reduced following EPO treatment. The thickness of the outer nuclear layer in the RD + 400 ng group was significantly thicker than that in other experimental RD groups both at 14 days and at 2 months after RD (P < 0.05). Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses showed decreased caspase-3 activation and increased Bcl-X(L) expression following EPO treatment.
Intravitreal injection of EPO 400 ng is safe, and EPO may suppress caspase-3 activation and enhance Bcl-X(L) expression, resulting in inhibition of apoptosis and protection of photoreceptor cells.
Article: Erythropoietin protects from axotomy-induced degeneration of retinal ganglion cells by activating ERK-1/-2.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Apart from its hematopoietic function, erythropoietin (Epo) exerts neuroprotective activity upon reduced oxygenation or ischemia of brain, retina, and spinal cord. To examine whether Epo has an impact on the retrograde degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) following optic nerve transection in vivo, we made use of our transgenic mouse line tg21 that constitutively expresses human Epo preferentially in neuronal cells without inducing polycythemia. We show that the tg21 retina expresses human Epo and that RGCs in this mouse line carry the Epo receptor. Upon axotomy, the RGCs of Epo transgenic tg21 mice were protected against degeneration, as compared with wild-type control animals. Western blot analysis revealed decreased phosphorylation levels of STAT-5 and reduced expression of Bcl-XL in RGCs of axotomized tg21 animals, suggesting that the corresponding pathways are not crucial for Epo's neuroprotective activity. Increased phosphorylation levels of ERK-1/-2 and Akt, as well as decreased caspase-3 activity, however, were observed in injured tg21 retinae. Injection of selective inhibitors of ERK-1/-2 (PD98059) or Akt (Wortmannin) pathways into the vitreous space revealed that transgenic Epo protected the RGCs by a pathway involving ERK-1/-2 but not Akt. In view that axotomy-induced degeneration of RGC occurs slowly, and considering the earlier data on the safety and efficacy of Epo in human stroke patients, we predict the clinical implementation of recombinant human Epo not only in patients with acute ischemic stroke, but also with more delayed degenerative neurological diseases.The FASEB Journal 03/2005; 19(2):249-51. · 5.71 Impact Factor