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      Metformin inhibits methylglyoxal-induced retinal pigment epithelial cell death and retinopathy via AMPK-dependent mechanisms: Reversing mitochondrial dysfunction and upregulating glyoxalase 1


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          Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a major cause of blindness in adult, and the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) is a major pathologic event in DR. Methylglyoxal (MGO), a highly reactive dicarbonyl compound, is a precursor of AGEs. Although the therapeutic potential of metformin for retinopathy disorders has recently been elucidated, possibly through AMPK activation, it remains unknown how metformin directly affects the MGO-induced stress response in retinal pigment epithelial cells. Therefore, in this study, we compared the effects of metformin and the AMPK activator A769662 on MGO-induced DR in mice, as well as evaluated cytotoxicity, mitochondrial dynamic changes and dysfunction in ARPE-19 cells. We found MGO can induce mitochondrial ROS production and mitochondrial membrane potential loss, but reduce cytosolic ROS level in ARPE-19 cells. Although these effects of MGO can be reversed by both metformin and A769662, we demonstrated that reduction of mitochondrial ROS production rather than restoration of cytosolic ROS level contributes to cell protective effects of metformin and A769662. Moreover, MGO inhibits AMPK activity, reduces LC3II accumulation, and suppresses protein and gene expressions of MFN1, PGC-1α and TFAM, leading to mitochondrial fission, inhibition of mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy. In contrast, these events of MGO were reversed by metformin in an AMPK-dependent manner as evidenced by the effects of compound C and AMPK silencing. In addition, we observed an AMPK-dependent upregulation of glyoxalase 1, a ubiquitous cellular enzyme that participates in the detoxification of MGO. In intravitreal drug-treated mice, we found that AMPK activators can reverse the MGO-induced cotton wool spots, macular edema and retinal damage. Functional, histological and optical coherence tomography analysis support the protective actions of both agents against MGO-elicited retinal damage. Metformin and A769662 via AMPK activation exert a strong protection against MGO-induced retinal pigment epithelial cell death and retinopathy. Therefore, metformin and AMPK activator can be therapeutic agents for DR.

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          Activation of AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) in skeletal muscle increases glucose uptake, fatty acid oxidation, and mitochondrial biogenesis by increasing gene expression in these pathways. However, the transcriptional components that are directly targeted by AMPK are still elusive. The peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1alpha (PGC-1alpha) has emerged as a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis; furthermore, it has been shown that PGC-1alpha gene expression is induced by exercise and by chemical activation of AMPK in skeletal muscle. Using primary muscle cells and mice deficient in PGC-1alpha, we found that the effects of AMPK on gene expression of glucose transporter 4, mitochondrial genes, and PGC-1alpha itself are almost entirely dependent on the function of PGC-1alpha protein. Furthermore, AMPK phosphorylates PGC-1alpha directly both in vitro and in cells. These direct phosphorylations of the PGC-1alpha protein at threonine-177 and serine-538 are required for the PGC-1alpha-dependent induction of the PGC-1alpha promoter. These data indicate that AMPK phosphorylation of PGC-1alpha initiates many of the important gene regulatory functions of AMPK in skeletal muscle.
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              Methods for detection of mitochondrial and cellular reactive oxygen species.

              Mitochondrial and cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) play important roles in both physiological and pathological processes. Different ROS, such as superoxide (O2(•-)), hydrogen peroxide, and peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)), stimulate distinct cell-signaling pathways and lead to diverse outcomes depending on their amount and subcellular localization. A variety of methods have been developed for ROS detection; however, many of these methods are not specific, do not allow subcellular localization, and can produce artifacts. In this review, we will critically analyze ROS detection and present advantages and the shortcomings of several available methods.

                Author and article information

                Redox Biol
                Redox Biol
                Redox Biology
                15 June 2023
                August 2023
                15 June 2023
                : 64
                : 102786
                [a ]Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
                [b ]Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
                [c ]Medical Research Center, Cardinal Tien Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan
                [d ]Department and Graduate Institute of Pharmacology, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
                [e ]Department of Ophthalmology, Cardinal Tien Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan
                [f ]School of Medicine, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. wwllaura1119@ 123456ntu.edu.tw
                [∗∗ ]Corresponding author. Department of Ophthalmology, Cardinal Tien Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan. m212092001@ 123456tmu.edu.tw
                S2213-2317(23)00187-8 102786
                © 2023 Published by Elsevier B.V.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                : 21 February 2023
                : 9 June 2023
                : 14 June 2023
                Research Paper

                diabetic retinopathy,methylglyoxal,metformin,ampk,mitochondria,glyoxalase 1,retinal pigment epithelial cells


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