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Effect of alpha lipoic acid on retinal ganglion cell survival in an optic nerve crush model

PURPOSE:

This study was conducted to determine whether alpha lipoic acid (ALA) promotes the survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in a rat model of optic nerve crush (ONC) injury and to investigate the neuroprotective mechanisms of ALA in the retina in this ONC injury model.

METHODS:

Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (180-220 g) were subjected to ONC injury surgery. ALA (63 mg/kg) was injected intravenously 1 day before or after the ONC injury. Animals were euthanized after 10 days, and the number of ganglion cells positive for RNA-binding protein with multiple splicing (Rbpms), which is an RGC marker, were counted on the whole mount retinas. In addition, immunofluorescence and immunoblotting were performed to examine the localization and levels of erythropoietin receptor (EPOR) and neurotrophin-4/5 (NT4/5) in the retinas in all experimental groups. To determine whether the EPO/EPOR signaling pathway was involved in the ALA antioxidant pathway, the rats were subjected to ruxolitinib (INCB018424, 0.25 mg/kg, bid, intraperitoneal, i.p.) treatment after the animals were injected intravenously with ALA 1 day before ONC injury.

RESULTS:

The average number of Rbpms-positive cells/mm2 in the control group (sham-operated group), the ONC group, the ALA-ONC group, and the ONC-ALA group retinas was 2219±28, 418±8, 848±22, and 613±18/mm2, respectively. The ALA-ONC and ONC-ALA groups showed a statistically significantly increased RGC survival rate compared to the ONC group. There were statistical differences in the RGC survival rates between the ALA-ONC (39%) and ONC-ALA groups (28%; p<0.05). Immunofluorescent labeling showed that EPOR and NT4/5 expression was significant in the retinal ganglion cell layer (GCL). At the same time, western blot analysis revealed that ALA induced upregulation of EPOR protein and NT4/5 protein expression in the retina after ONC injury. However, INCB018424 reversed the protective effects of ALA on the ONC retinas.

CONCLUSIONS:

ALA has neuroprotective effects on RGCs after ONC injury. Moreover, prophylactic administration of ALA may have a stronger neuroprotective effect against ONC-induced damage. Based on these data, we also conclude that the endogenous EPO/EPOR signaling pathway may contribute to the protective effects of ALA in the retina after ONC injury.

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S1378 Ruxolitinib (INCB018424) Ruxolitinib (INCB018424) is the first potent, selective, JAK1/2 inhibitor to enter the clinic with IC50 of 3.3 nM/2.8 nM in cell-free assays, >130-fold selectivity for JAK1/2 versus JAK3. Ruxolitinib kills tumor cells through toxic mitophagy. Ruxolitinib induces autophagy and enhances apoptosis. (339) (9)

Related Targets

JAK