Publications -- Dorota Stankowska

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This collection is limited to articles published under the terms of a creative commons license or other open access publishing agreement since 2016. It is not intended as a complete list of the author's works.


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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
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    The endothelin receptor antagonist macitentan ameliorates endothelin-mediated vasoconstriction and promotes the survival of retinal ganglion cells in rats
    (Frontiers Media S.A., 2023-01-01) Kodati, Bindu; Zhang, Wei; He, Shaoqing; Pham, Jennifer H.; Beall, Kallen J.; Swanger, Zoe E.; Krishnamoorthy, Vignesh R.; Harris, Payton E.; Hall, Trent; Tran, Ashley V.; Chaphalkar, Renuka M.; Chavala, Sai H.; Stankowska, Dorota L.; Krishnamoorthy, Raghu R.
    Glaucoma is a chronic and progressive eye disease, commonly associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and characterized by optic nerve degeneration, cupping of the optic disc, and loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The pathological changes in glaucoma are triggered by multiple mechanisms and both mechanical effects and vascular factors are thought to contribute to the etiology of glaucoma. Various studies have shown that endothelin-1 (ET-1), a vasoactive peptide, acting through its G protein coupled receptors, ET(A) and ET(B), plays a pathophysiologic role in glaucoma. However, the mechanisms by which ET-1 contribute to neurodegeneration remain to be completely understood. Our laboratory and others demonstrated that macitentan (MAC), a pan endothelin receptor antagonist, has neuroprotective effects in rodent models of IOP elevation. The current study aimed to determine if oral administration of a dual endothelin antagonist, macitentan, could promote neuroprotection in an acute model of intravitreal administration of ET-1. We demonstrate that vasoconstriction following the intravitreal administration of ET-1 was attenuated by dietary administration of the ET(A)/ET(B) dual receptor antagonist, macitentan (5 mg/kg body weight) in retired breeder Brown Norway rats. ET-1 intravitreal injection produced a 40% loss of RGCs, which was significantly lower in macitentan-treated rats. We also evaluated the expression levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) at 24 h and 7 days post intravitreal administration of ET-1 in Brown Norway rats as well as following ET-1 treatment in cultured human optic nerve head astrocytes. We observed that at the 24 h time point the expression levels of GFAP was upregulated (indicative of glial activation) following intravitreal ET-1 administration in both retina and optic nerve head regions. However, following macitentan administration for 7 days after intravitreal ET-1 administration, we observed an upregulation of GFAP expression, compared to untreated rats injected intravitreally with ET-1 alone. Macitentan treatment in ET-1 administered rats showed protection of RGC somas but was not able to preserve axonal integrity and functionality. The endothelin receptor antagonist, macitentan, has neuroprotective effects in the retinas of Brown Norway rats acting through different mechanisms, including enhancement of RGC survival and reduction of ET-1 mediated vasoconstriction.
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    Role of mitophagy in ocular neurodegeneration
    (Frontiers Media S.A., 2023-11-15) Brooks, Calvin D.; Kodati, Bindu; Stankowska, Dorota L.; Krishnamoorthy, Raghu R.
    Neurons in the central nervous system are among the most metabolically active cells in the body, characterized by high oxygen consumption utilizing glucose both aerobically and anaerobically. Neurons have an abundance of mitochondria which generate adequate ATP to keep up with the high metabolic demand. One consequence of the oxidative phosphorylation mechanism of ATP synthesis, is the generation of reactive oxygen species which produces cellular injury as well as damage to mitochondria. Mitochondria respond to injury by fusion which serves to ameliorate the damage through genetic complementation. Mitochondria also undergo fission to meet an increased energy demand. Loss of mitochondria is also compensated by increased biogenesis to generate new mitochondria. Damaged mitochondria are removed by mitophagy, an autophagic process, in which damaged mitochondria are surrounded by a membrane to form an autophagosome which ultimately fuses with the lysosome resulting in degradation of faulty mitochondria. Dysregulation of mitophagy has been reported in several central nervous system disorders, including, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Recent studies point to aberrant mitophagy in ocular neurodegenerative disorders which could be an important contributor to the disease etiology/pathology. This review article highlights some of the recent findings that point to dysregulation of mitophagy and it's underlying mechanisms in ocular neurodegenerative diseases, including, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
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    Modulating mitochondrial calcium channels (TRPM2/MCU/NCX) as a therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative disorders
    (Frontiers Media S.A., 2023-11-06) Johnson, Gretchen A.; Krishnamoorthy, Raghu R.; Stankowska, Dorota L.
    Efficient cellular communication is essential for the brain to regulate diverse functions like muscle contractions, memory formation and recall, decision-making, and task execution. This communication is facilitated by rapid signaling through electrical and chemical messengers, including voltage-gated ion channels and neurotransmitters. These messengers elicit broad responses by propagating action potentials and mediating synaptic transmission. Calcium influx and efflux are essential for releasing neurotransmitters and regulating synaptic transmission. Mitochondria, which are involved in oxidative phosphorylation, and the energy generation process, also interact with the endoplasmic reticulum to store and regulate cytoplasmic calcium levels. The number, morphology, and distribution of mitochondria in different cell types vary based on energy demands. Mitochondrial damage can cause excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Mitophagy is a selective process that targets and degrades damaged mitochondria via autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Defects in mitophagy can lead to a buildup of ROS and cell death. Numerous studies have attempted to characterize the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and calcium dysregulation in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinocerebellar ataxia, and aging. Interventional strategies to reduce mitochondrial damage and accumulation could serve as a therapeutic target, but further research is needed to unravel this potential. This review offers an overview of calcium signaling related to mitochondria in various neuronal cells. It critically examines recent findings, exploring the potential roles that mitochondrial dysfunction might play in multiple neurodegenerative diseases and aging. Furthermore, the review identifies existing gaps in knowledge to guide the direction of future research.
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    Modulation of Mitochondrial Metabolic Parameters and Antioxidant Enzymes in Healthy and Glaucomatous Trabecular Meshwork Cells with Hybrid Small Molecule SA-2
    (MDPI, 2023-07-29) Amankwa, Charles E.; Young, Olivia; DebNath, Biddut; Gondi, Sudershan R.; Rangan, Rajiv; Ellis, Dorette Z.; Zode, Gulab S.; Stankowska, Dorota L.; Acharya, Suchismita
    Oxidative stress (OS)-induced mitochondrial damage is a risk factor for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Mitochondria-targeted novel antioxidant therapies could unearth promising drug candidates for the management of POAG. Previously, our dual-acting hybrid molecule SA-2 with nitric oxide-donating and antioxidant activity reduced intraocular pressure and improved aqueous humor outflow in rodent eyes. Here, we examined the mechanistic role of SA-2 in trabecular meshwork (TM) cells in vitro and measured the activity of intracellular antioxidant enzymes during OS. Primary human TM cells isolated from normal (hNTM) or glaucomatous (hGTM) post-mortem donors and transformed glaucomatous TM cells (GTM-3) were used for in vitro assays. We examined the effect of SA-2 on oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) in vitro using Seahorse Analyzer with or without the oxidant, tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) treatment. Concentrations of total antioxidant enzymes, catalase (CAT), malondialdehyde (MDA), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were measured. We observed significant protection of both hNTM and hGTM cells from TBHP-induced cell death by SA-2. Antioxidant enzymes were elevated in SA-2-treated cells compared to TBHP-treated cells. In addition, SA-2 demonstrated an increase in mitochondrial metabolic parameters. Altogether, SA-2 protected both normal and glaucomatous TM cells from OS via increasing mitochondrial energy parameters and the activity of antioxidant enzymes.
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    Mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum membranes (MAMs) and their role in glaucomatous retinal ganglion cell degeneration-a mini review
    (Frontiers Media S.A., 2023-05-30) Pham, Jennifer H.; Stankowska, Dorota L.
    Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, commonly associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), leading to degeneration of the optic nerve and death of retinal ganglion cells, the output neurons in the eye. In recent years, many studies have implicated mitochondrial dysfunction as a crucial player in glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Mitochondrial function has been an increasingly researched topic in glaucoma, given its vital role in bioenergetics and propagation of action potentials. One of the most metabolically active tissues in the body characterized by high oxygen consumption is the retina, particularly the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). RGCs, which have long axons that extend from the eyes to the brain, rely heavily on the energy generated by oxidative phosphorylation for signal transduction, rendering them more vulnerable to oxidative damage. In various glaucoma models, mitochondrial dysfunction and stress from protein aggregates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) have been observed in the RGCs. However, it has been shown that the two organelles are connected through a network called mitochondria-associated ER membranes (MAMs); hence this crosstalk in a pathophysiological condition such as glaucoma should be evaluated. Here, we review the current literature suggestive of mitochondrial and ER stress related to glaucoma, indicating potential cross-signaling and the potential roles of MAMs.
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    Neuroprotection of Rodent and Human Retinal Ganglion Cells In Vitro/Ex Vivo by the Hybrid Small Molecule SA-2
    (MDPI, 2022-12-12) Pham, Jennifer H.; Johnson, Gretchen A.; Rangan, Rajiv S.; Amankwa, Charles E.; Acharya, Suchismita; Stankowska, Dorota L.
    The mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of the hybrid antioxidant-nitric oxide donating compound SA-2 in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration models were evaluated. The in vitro trophic factor (TF) deprivation model in primary rat RGCs and ex vivo human retinal explants were used to mimic glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Cell survival was assessed after treatment with vehicle or SA-2. In separate experiments, tert-Butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) and endothelin-3 (ET-3) were used in ex vivo rat retinal explants and primary rat RGCs, respectively, to induce oxidative damage. Mitochondrial and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were assessed following treatments. In the TF deprivation model, SA-2 treatment produced a significant decrease in apoptotic and dead cell counts in primary RGCs and a significant increase in RGC survival in ex vivo human retinal explants. In the oxidative stress-induced models, a significant decrease in the production of ROS was observed in the SA-2-treated group compared to the vehicle-treated group. Compound SA-2 was neuroprotective against various glaucomatous insults in the rat and human RGCs by reducing apoptosis and decreasing ROS levels. Amelioration of mitochondrial and cellular oxidative stress by SA-2 may be a potential therapeutic strategy for preventing neurodegeneration in glaucomatous RGCs.
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    Involvement of c-Jun N-terminal kinase 2 (JNK2) in Endothelin-1 (ET-1) Mediated Neurodegeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cells
    (ARVO Journals, 2021-05-03) Kodati, Bindu; Stankowska, Dorota L.; Krishnamoorthy, Vignesh R.; Krishnamoorthy, Raghu R.
    Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine whether JNK2 played a causative role in endothelin-mediated loss of RGCs in mice. Methods: JNK2-/- and wild type (C57BL/6) mice were intravitreally injected in one eye with 1 nmole of ET-1, whereas the contralateral eye was injected with the vehicle. At two time points (two hours and 24 hours) after the intravitreal injections, mice were euthanized, and phosphorylated c-Jun was assessed in retinal sections. In a separate set of experiments, JNK2-/- and wild type mice were intravitreally injected with either 1 nmole of ET-1 or its vehicle and euthanized seven days after injection. Retinal flat mounts were stained with antibodies to the RGC marker, Brn3a, and surviving RGCs were quantified. Axonal degeneration was assessed in paraphenylenediamine stained optic nerve sections. Results: Intravitreal ET-1 administration produced a significant increase in immunostaining for phospho c-Jun in wild type mice, which was appreciably lower in the JNK2 -/- mice. A significant (P < 0.05) 26% loss of RGCs was found in wild type mice, seven days after injection with ET-1. JNK2-/- mice showed a significant protection from RGC loss following ET-1 administration, compared to wild type mice injected with ET-1. A significant decrease in axonal counts and an increase in the collapsed axons was found in ET-1 injected wild type mice eyes. Conclusions: JNK2 appears to play a major role in ET-1 mediated loss of RGCs in mice. Neuroprotective effects in JNK2-/- mice following ET-1 administration occur mainly in the soma and not in the axons of RGCs.
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    Upregulation of the endothelin A (ETA) receptor and its association with neurodegeneration in a rodent model of glaucoma
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2017-03-01) McGrady, Nolan R.; Minton, Alena Z.; Stankowska, Dorota L.; He, Shaoqing; Jefferies, Hayden B.; Krishnamoorthy, Raghu R.
    BACKGROUND: Primary open angle glaucoma is a heterogeneous group of optic neuropathies that results in optic nerve degeneration and a loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) ultimately causing blindness if allowed to progress. Elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most attributable risk factor for developing glaucoma and lowering of IOP is currently the only available therapy. However, despite lowering IOP, neurodegenerative effects persist in some patients. Hence, it would be beneficial to develop approaches to promote neuroprotection of RGCs in addition to IOP lowering therapies. The endothelin system is a key target for intervention against glaucomatous neurodegeneration. The endothelin family of peptides and receptors, particularly endothelin-1 (ET-1) and endothelin B (ETB) receptor, has been shown to have neurodegenerative roles in glaucoma. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in endothelin A (ETA) receptor protein expression in the retinas of adult male Brown Norway rats following IOP elevation by the Morrison's model of ocular hypertension and the impact of ETA receptor overexpression on RGC viability in vitro. RESULTS: IOP elevation was carried out in one eye of Brown Norway rats by injection of hypertonic saline through episcleral veins. After 2 weeks of IOP elevation, immunohistochemical analysis of retinal sections from rat eyes showed an increasing trend in immunostaining for ETA receptors in multiple retinal layers including the inner plexiform layer, ganglion cell layer and outer plexiform layer. Following 4 weeks of IOP elevation, a significant increase in immunostaining for ETA receptor expression was found in the retina, primarily in the inner plexiform layer and ganglion cells. A modest increase in staining for ETA receptors was also found in the outer plexiform layer in the retina of rats with IOP elevation. Cell culture studies showed that overexpression of ETA receptors in 661W cells as well as primary RGCs decreases cell viability, compared to empty vector transfected cells. Adeno-associated virus mediated overexpression of the ETA receptor produced an increase in the ETB receptor in primary RGCs. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated IOP results in an appreciable change in ETA receptor expression in the retina. Overexpression of the ETA receptor results in an overall decrease in cell viability, accompanied by an increase in ETB receptor levels, suggesting the involvement of both ETA and ETB receptors in mediating cell death. These findings raise possibilities for the development of ETA/ETB dual receptor antagonists as neuroprotective treatments for glaucomatous neuropathy.