Mohammadali Almasieh

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (6)35.84 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: A clear correlation between vascular deficits and retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss in glaucoma has not yet been established. We asked whether there is loss of inner retinal vessels following intraocular pressure (IOP) increase and, if so, whether it occurs prior to, concomitantly, or after RGC death. We also sought to establish whether galantamine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that promotes RGC survival, can protect the retinal microvasculature and enhance blood flow in experimental glaucoma. METHODS: Ocular hypertension was induced in Brown Norway rats by injection of hypertonic saline into an episcleral vein. Retinas were processed for simultaneous visualization of the retinal microvasculature and RGCs in glaucomatous and control eyes. Retinal blood flow was examined by quantitative autoradiography using N-isopropyl-p-14C-iodoamphetamine. Vascular reactivity was further assessed using an in vitro retinal microvasculature preparation. RESULTS: Substantial loss of retinal capillaries was observed after induction of ocular hypertension. The onset of both microvasculature and RGC loss occurred early and proceeded at a similar rate for at least five weeks after the initial damage. Systemic administration of galantamine preserved microvasculature density and improved retinal blood flow in glaucomatous retinas. The vasoactive effects of galantamine on retinal microvessels occurred through activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors both in vitro and in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: The onset and progression of microvessel and RGC loss are concomitant in experimental glaucoma suggesting a tight co-dependency between these cellular compartments. Early interventions aimed to protect the retinal microvasculature and improve blood supply are likely to be beneficial for the treatment of glaucoma.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 04/2013; · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glaucoma is a group of diseases characterized by progressive optic nerve degeneration that results in visual field loss and irreversible blindness. A crucial element in the pathophysiology of all forms of glaucoma is the death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), a population of CNS neurons with their soma in the inner retina and axons in the optic nerve. Strategies that delay or halt RGC loss have been recognized as potentially beneficial to preserve vision in glaucoma; however, the success of these approaches depends on an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms that lead to RGC dysfunction and death. In recent years, there has been an exponential increase in valuable information regarding the molecular basis of RGC death stemming from animal models of acute and chronic optic nerve injury as well as experimental glaucoma. The emerging landscape is complex and points at a variety of molecular signals - acting alone or in cooperation - to promote RGC death. These include: axonal transport failure, neurotrophic factor deprivation, toxic pro-neurotrophins, activation of intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic signals, mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxic damage, oxidative stress, misbehaving reactive glia and loss of synaptic connectivity. Collectively, this body of work has considerably updated and expanded our view of how RGCs might die in glaucoma and has revealed novel, potential targets for neuroprotection.
    Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 12/2011; 31(2):152-81. · 9.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide has been recognized as a critical signal triggering retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death after axonal injury. Although the downstream targets of superoxide are unknown, chemical reduction of oxidized sulfhydryls has been shown to be neuroprotective for injured RGCs. On the basis of this, we developed novel phosphine-borane complex compounds that are cell permeable and highly stable. Here, we report that our lead compound, bis (3-propionic acid methyl ester) phenylphosphine borane complex 1 (PB1) promotes RGC survival in rat models of optic nerve axotomy and in experimental glaucoma. PB1-mediated RGC neuroprotection did not correlate with inhibition of stress-activated protein kinase signaling, including apoptosis stimulating kinase 1 (ASK1), c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) or p38. Instead, PB1 led to a striking increase in retinal BDNF levels and downstream activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway. Pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2 entirely blocked RGC neuroprotection induced by PB1. We conclude that PB1 protects damaged RGCs through activation of pro-survival signals. These data support a potential cross-talk between redox homeostasis and neurotrophin-related pathways leading to RGC survival after axonal injury.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 07/2011; 118(6):1075-86. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss after optic nerve damage is a hallmark of certain human ophthalmic diseases including ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) and glaucoma. In a rat model of optic nerve transection, in which 80% of RGCs are eliminated within 14 days, caspase-2 was found to be expressed and cleaved (activated) predominantly in RGC. Inhibition of caspase-2 expression by a chemically modified synthetic short interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) delivered by intravitreal administration significantly enhanced RGC survival over a period of at least 30 days. This exogenously delivered siRNA could be found in RGC and other types of retinal cells, persisted inside the retina for at least 1 month and mediated sequence-specific RNA interference without inducing an interferon response. Our results indicate that RGC apoptosis induced by optic nerve injury involves activation of caspase-2, and that synthetic siRNAs designed to inhibit expression of caspase-2 represent potential neuroprotective agents for intervention in human diseases involving RGC loss.
    Cell Death & Disease 01/2011; 2:e173. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Loss of vision due to glaucoma is caused by the selective death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Treatments for glaucoma, limited to drugs or surgery to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), are insufficient. Therefore, a pressing medical need exists for more effective therapies to prevent vision loss in glaucoma patients. In this in vivo study, we demonstrate that systemic administration of galantamine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, promotes protection of RGC soma and axons in a rat glaucoma model. Functional deficits caused by high IOP, assessed by recording visual evoked potentials from the superior colliculus, were improved by galantamine. These effects were not related to a reduction in IOP because galantamine did not change the pressure in glaucomatous eyes and it promoted neuronal survival after optic nerve axotomy, a pressure-independent model of RGC death. Importantly, we demonstrate that galantamine-induced ganglion cell survival occurred by activation of types M1 and M4 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, while nicotinic receptors were not involved. These data provide the first evidence of the clinical potential of galantamine as neuroprotectant for glaucoma and other optic neuropathies, and identify muscarinic receptors as potential therapeutic targets for preventing vision loss in these blinding diseases.
    Cell Death & Disease 02/2010; 1:e27. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Paranodal axoglial junctions are essential for the segregation of myelinated axons into distinct domains and efficient conduction of action potentials. Here, we show that netrin-1 and deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC) are enriched at the paranode in CNS myelin. We then address whether netrin-1 signaling influences paranodal adhesion between oligodendrocytes and axons. In the absence of netrin-1 or DCC function, oligodendroglial paranodes initially develop and mature normally but later become disorganized. Lack of DCC or netrin-1 resulted in detachment of paranodal loops from the axonal surface and the disappearance of transverse bands. Furthermore, the domain organization of myelin is compromised in the absence of netrin-1 signaling: K+ channels inappropriately invade the paranodal region, and the normally restricted paranodal distribution of Caspr expands longitudinally along the axon. Our findings identify an essential role for netrin-1 and DCC regulating the maintenance of axoglial junctions.
    Journal of Neuroscience 11/2008; 28(43):11003-14. · 6.91 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

144 Citations
35.84 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2013
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Pathology and Cell Biology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada