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      Stimulation of AMPK prevents degeneration of photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          <p id="d5588365e174">In this paper, we show that stimulation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by metformin is able to protect photoreceptors and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) in three different mouse models of retinal degeneration, including acute bright light damage, <i>Pde6b</i> <sup> <i>rd10</i> </sup> inherited retinitis pigmentosa, and sodium iodate-induced RPE injury. The study suggests that activators of AMPK can have broad-spectrum protection in the retina to prevent loss of vision from acute injury, inherited retinal degeneration, and age-related macular degeneration. </p><p class="first" id="d5588365e186">Retinal degenerative diseases are generally characterized by a permanent loss of light-sensitive retinal neurons known as photoreceptors, or their support cells, the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). Metabolic dysfunction has been implicated as a common mechanism of degeneration. In this study, we used the drug metformin in a gain-of-function approach to activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We found that treatment protected photoreceptors and the RPE from acute injury and delayed inherited retinal degeneration. Protection was associated with decreased oxidative stress, decreased DNA damage, and increased mitochondrial energy production. To determine whether protection was a local or a systemic effect of metformin, we used AMPK retinal knockout mice and found that local expression of AMPK catalytic subunit α2 was required for metformin-induced protection. Our data demonstrate that increasing the activity of AMPK in retinal neurons or glia can delay or prevent degeneration of photoreceptors and the RPE from multiple types of cell-death triggers. </p>

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          Most cited references 27

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          Metabolic control of mitochondrial biogenesis through the PGC-1 family regulatory network.

          The PGC-1 family of regulated coactivators, consisting of PGC-1α, PGC-1β and PRC, plays a central role in a regulatory network governing the transcriptional control of mitochondrial biogenesis and respiratory function. These coactivators target multiple transcription factors including NRF-1, NRF-2 and the orphan nuclear hormone receptor, ERRα, among others. In addition, they themselves are the targets of coactivator and co-repressor complexes that regulate gene expression through chromatin remodeling. The expression of PGC-1 family members is modulated by extracellular signals controlling metabolism, differentiation or cell growth and in some cases their activities are known to be regulated by post-translational modification by the energy sensors, AMPK and SIRT1. Recent gene knockout and silencing studies of many members of the PGC-1 network have revealed phenotypes of wide ranging severity suggestive of complex compensatory interactions or broadly integrative functions that are not exclusive to mitochondrial biogenesis. The results point to a central role for the PGC-1 family in integrating mitochondrial biogenesis and energy production with many diverse cellular functions. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mitochondria and Cardioprotection. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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            The Rd8 mutation of the Crb1 gene is present in vendor lines of C57BL/6N mice and embryonic stem cells, and confounds ocular induced mutant phenotypes.

            We noted an unexpected inheritance pattern of lesions in several strains of gene-manipulated mice with ocular phenotypes. The lesions, which appeared at various stages of backcross to C57BL/6, bore resemblance to the rd8 retinal degeneration phenotype. We set out to examine the prevalence of this mutation in induced mutant mouse lines, vendor C57BL/6 mice and in widely used embryonic stem cells. Ocular lesions were evaluated by fundus examination and histopathology. Detection of the rd8 mutation at the genetic level was performed by PCR with appropriate primers. Data were confirmed by DNA sequencing in selected cases. Analysis of several induced mutant mouse lines with ocular disease phenotypes revealed that the disease was associated 100% with the presence of the rd8 mutation in the Crb1 gene rather than with the gene of interest. DNA analysis of C57BL/6 mice from common commercial vendors demonstrated the presence of the rd8 mutation in homozygous form in all C57BL/6N substrains, but not in the C57BL/6J substrain. A series of commercially available embryonic stem cells of C57BL/6N origin and C57BL/6N mouse lines used to generate ES cells also contained the rd8 mutation. Affected mice displayed ocular lesions typical of rd8, which were detectable by funduscopy and histopathology as early as 6 weeks of age. These findings identify the presence of the rd8 mutation in the C57BL/6N mouse substrain used widely to produce transgenic and knockout mice. The results have grave implications for the vision research community who develop mouse lines to study eye disease, as presence of rd8 can produce significant disease phenotypes unrelated to the gene or genes of interest. It is suggested that researchers screen for rd8 if their mouse lines were generated on the C57BL/6N background, bear resemblance to the rd8 phenotype, or are of indeterminate origin.
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              Two mouse retinal degenerations caused by missense mutations in the beta-subunit of rod cGMP phosphodiesterase gene.

              We report the chromosomal localization, mutant gene identification, ophthalmic appearance, histology, and functional analysis of two new hereditary mouse models of retinal degeneration not having the Pde6brd1("r", "rd", or "rodless") mutation. One strain harbors an autosomal recessive mutation that maps to mouse chromosome 5. Sequence analysis showed that the retinal degeneration is caused by a missense point mutation in exon 13 of the beta-subunit of the rod cGMP phosphodiesterase (beta-PDE) gene (Pde6b). The gene symbol for this strain was set as Pde6brd10, abbreviated rd10 hereafter. Mice homozygous for the rd10 mutation showed histological changes at postnatal day 16 (P16) of age and sclerotic retinal vessels at four weeks of age, consistent with retinal degeneration. Retinal sections were highly positive for TUNEL and activated caspase-3 immunoreactivity, specifically in the outer nuclear layer (ONL). ERGs were never normal, but rod and cone ERG a- and b-waves were easily measured at P18 and steadily declined over 90% by two months of age. Protein extracts from rd10 retinas were positive for beta-PDE immunoreactivity starting at about the same time as wild-type (P10), though signal averaged less than 40% of wild-type. Interestingly, rearing rd10 mice in total darkness delayed degeneration for at least a week, after which morphological and functional loss progressed irregularly. With the second strain, a complementation test with rd1 mice revealed that the retinal degeneration phenotype observed represents a possible new allele of Pde6b. Sequencing demonstrated a missense point mutation in exon 16 of the beta-subunit of rod phosphodiesterase gene, different from the point mutations in rd1 and rd10. The gene symbol for this strain was set as Pde6bnmf137, abbreviated nmf137 hereafter. Mice homozygous for this mutation showed retinal degeneration with a mottled retina and white retinal vessels at three weeks of age. The exon 13 missense mutation (rd10) is the first known occurrence of a second mutant allele spontaneously arising in the Pde6b gene in mice and may provide a model for studying the pathogenesis of autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (arRP) in humans. It may also provide a better model for experimental pharmaceutical-based therapy for RP because of its later onset and milder retinal degeneration than rd1 and nmf137.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                October 09 2018
                October 09 2018
                October 09 2018
                September 24 2018
                : 115
                : 41
                : 10475-10480
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1802724115
                6187182
                30249643
                © 2018

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