Publications -- Abe Clark

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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 - 18 of 18
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    Lentiviral mediated delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 reduces intraocular pressure in a mouse model of myocilin glaucoma
    (Springer Nature Limited, 2024-03-24) Patil, Shruti V.; Kaipa, Balasankara R.; Ranshing, Sujata; Sundaresan, Yogapriya; Millar, J. Cameron; Nagarajan, Bhavani; Kiehlbauch, Charles; Zhang, Qihong; Jain, Ankur; Searby, Charles C.; Scheetz, Todd E.; Clark, Abbot F.; Sheffield, Val C.; Zode, Gulab S.
    Mutations in myocilin (MYOC) are the leading known genetic cause of primary open-angle glaucoma, responsible for about 4% of all cases. Mutations in MYOC cause a gain-of-function phenotype in which mutant myocilin accumulates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leading to ER stress and trabecular meshwork (TM) cell death. Therefore, knocking out myocilin at the genome level is an ideal strategy to permanently cure the disease. We have previously utilized CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing successfully to target MYOC using adenovirus 5 (Ad5). However, Ad5 is not a suitable vector for clinical use. Here, we sought to determine the efficacy of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) and lentiviruses (LVs) to target the TM. First, we examined the TM tropism of single-stranded (ss) and self-complimentary (sc) AAV serotypes as well as LV expressing GFP via intravitreal (IVT) and intracameral (IC) injections. We observed that LV_GFP expression was more specific to the TM injected via the IVT route. IC injections of Trp-mutant scAAV2 showed a prominent expression of GFP in the TM. However, robust GFP expression was also observed in the ciliary body and retina. We next constructed lentiviral particles expressing Cas9 and guide RNA (gRNA) targeting MYOC (crMYOC) and transduction of TM cells stably expressing mutant myocilin with LV_crMYOC significantly reduced myocilin accumulation and its associated chronic ER stress. A single IVT injection of LV_crMYOC in Tg-MYOC(Y437H) mice decreased myocilin accumulation in TM and reduced elevated IOP significantly. Together, our data indicates, LV_crMYOC targets MYOC gene editing in TM and rescues a mouse model of myocilin-associated glaucoma.
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    Role of Glucocorticoids and Glucocorticoid Receptors in Glaucoma Pathogenesis
    (MDPI, 2023-10-27) Patel, Pinkal D.; Kodati, Bindu; Clark, Abbot F.
    The glucocorticoid receptor (GR), including both alternative spliced isoforms (GRalpha and GRbeta), has been implicated in the development of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and iatrogenic glucocorticoid-induced glaucoma (GIG). POAG is the most common form of glaucoma, which is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and blindness in the world. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are commonly used therapeutically for ocular and numerous other diseases/conditions. One serious side effect of prolonged GC therapy is the development of iatrogenic secondary ocular hypertension (OHT) and OAG (i.e., GC-induced glaucoma (GIG)) that clinically and pathologically mimics POAG. GC-induced OHT is caused by pathogenic damage to the trabecular meshwork (TM), a tissue involved in regulating aqueous humor outflow and intraocular pressure. TM cells derived from POAG eyes (GTM cells) have a lower expression of GRbeta, a dominant negative regulator of GC activity, compared to TM cells from age-matched control eyes. Therefore, GTM cells have a greater pathogenic response to GCs. Almost all POAG patients develop GC-OHT when treated with GCs, in contrast to a GC responder rate of 40% in the normal population. An increased expression of GRbeta can block GC-induced pathogenic changes in TM cells and reverse GC-OHT in mice. The endogenous expression of GRbeta in the TM may relate to differences in the development of GC-OHT in the normal population. A number of studies have suggested increased levels of endogenous cortisol in POAG patients as well as differences in cortisol metabolism, suggesting that GCs may be involved in the development of POAG. Additional studies are warranted to better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in POAG and GIG in order to develop new disease-modifying therapies to better treat these two sight threatening forms of glaucoma. The purpose of this timely review is to highlight the pathological and clinical features of GC-OHT and GIG, mechanisms responsible for GC responsiveness, potential therapeutic options, as well as to compare the similar features of GIG with POAG.
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    CNS axonal degeneration and transport deficits at the optic nerve head precede structural and functional loss of retinal ganglion cells in a mouse model of glaucoma
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2020-08-27) Maddineni, Prabhavathi; Kasetti, Ramesh B.; Patel, Pinkal D.; Millar, J. Cameron; Kiehlbauch, Charles; Clark, Abbot F.; Zode, Gulab S.
    BACKGROUND: Glaucoma is a leading neurodegenerative disease affecting over 70 million individuals worldwide. Early pathological events of axonal degeneration and retinopathy in response to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) are limited and not well-defined due to the lack of appropriate animal models that faithfully replicate all the phenotypes of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), the most common form of glaucoma. Glucocorticoid (GC)-induced ocular hypertension (OHT) and its associated iatrogenic open-angle glaucoma share many features with POAG. Here, we characterized a novel mouse model of GC-induced OHT for glaucomatous neurodegeneration and further explored early pathological events of axonal degeneration in response to elevated IOP. METHODS: C57BL/6 J mice were periocularly injected with either vehicle or the potent GC, dexamethasone 21-acetate (Dex) once a week for 10 weeks. Glaucoma phenotypes including IOP, outflow facility, structural and functional loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), optic nerve (ON) degeneration, gliosis, and anterograde axonal transport deficits were examined at various stages of OHT. RESULTS: Prolonged treatment with Dex leads to glaucoma in mice similar to POAG patients including IOP elevation due to reduced outflow facility and dysfunction of trabecular meshwork, progressive ON degeneration and structural and functional loss of RGCs. Lowering of IOP rescued Dex-induced ON degeneration and RGC loss, suggesting that glaucomatous neurodegeneration is IOP dependent. Also, Dex-induced neurodegeneration was associated with activation of astrocytes, axonal transport deficits, ON demyelination, mitochondrial accumulation and immune cell infiltration in the optic nerve head (ONH) region. Our studies further show that ON degeneration precedes structural and functional loss of RGCs in Dex-treated mice. Axonal damage and transport deficits initiate at the ONH and progress toward the distal end of ON and target regions in the brain (i.e. superior colliculus). Most of anterograde transport was preserved during initial stages of axonal degeneration (30% loss) and complete transport deficits were only observed at the ONH during later stages of severe axonal degeneration (50% loss). CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that ON degeneration and transport deficits at the ONH precede RGC structural and functional loss and provide a new potential therapeutic window for rescuing neuronal loss and restoring health of damaged axons in glaucoma.
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    Increased synthesis and deposition of extracellular matrix proteins leads to endoplasmic reticulum stress in the trabecular meshwork
    (Springer Nature, 2017-11-02) Kasetti, Ramesh B.; Maddineni, Prabhavathi; Millar, J. Cameron; Clark, Abbot F.; Zode, Gulab S.
    Increased synthesis and deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the trabecular meshwork (TM) is associated with TM dysfunction and intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in glaucoma. However, it is not understood how ECM accumulation leads to TM dysfunction and IOP elevation. Using a mouse model of glucocorticoid (GC)-induced glaucoma, primary human TM cells and human post-mortem TM tissues, we show that increased ECM accumulation leads to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the TM. The potent GC, dexamethasone (Dex) increased the secretory protein load of ECM proteins in the ER of TM cells, inducing ER stress. Reduction of fibronectin, a major regulator of ECM structure, prevented ER stress in Dex-treated TM cells. Overexpression of fibronectin via treatment with cellular fibronectin also induced chronic ER stress in primary human TM cells. Primary human TM cells grown on ECM derived from Dex-treated TM cells induced ER stress markers. TM cells were more prone to ER stress from ECM accumulation compared to other ocular cell types. Moreover, increased co-localization of ECM proteins with ER stress markers was observed in human post-mortem glaucomatous TM tissues. These data indicate that ER stress is associated with increased ECM accumulation in mouse and human glaucomatous TM tissues.
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    Mirna Expression in Glaucomatous and TGFbeta2 Treated Lamina Cribrosa Cells
    (MDPI, 2021-06-08) Lopez, Navita N.; Rangan, Rajiv; Clark, Abbot F.; Tovar-Vidales, Tara
    Glaucoma is a group of optic neuropathies that leads to irreversible vision loss. The optic nerve head (ONH) is the site of initial optic nerve damage in glaucoma. ONH-derived lamina cribrosa (LC) cells synthesize extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins; however, these cells are adversely affected in glaucoma and cause detrimental changes to the ONH. LC cells respond to mechanical strain by increasing the profibrotic cytokine transforming growth factor-beta 2 (TGFbeta2) and ECM proteins. Moreover, microRNAs (miRNAs or miR) regulate ECM gene expression in different fibrotic diseases, including glaucoma. A delicate homeostatic balance between profibrotic and anti-fibrotic miRNAs may contribute to the remodeling of ONH. This study aimed to determine whether modulation of miRNAs alters the expression of ECM in human LC cells. Primary human normal and glaucoma LC cells were grown to confluency and treated with or without TGFbeta2 for 24 h. Differences in expression of miRNAs were analyzed using miRNA qPCR arrays. miRNA PCR arrays showed that the miR-29 family was significantly decreased in glaucomatous LC cell strains compared to age-matched controls. TGFbeta2 treatment downregulated the expression of multiple miRNAs, including miR-29c-3p, compared to controls in LC cells. LC cells transfected with miR-29c-3p mimics or inhibitors modulated collagen expression.
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    TGFbeta2 Induces the Formation of Cross-Linked Actin Networks (CLANs) in Human Trabecular Meshwork Cells Through the Smad and Non-Smad Dependent Pathways
    (ARVO Journals, 2017-02) Montecchi-Palmer, Michela; Bermudez, Jaclyn Y.; Webber, Hannah C.; Patel, Gaurang C.; Clark, Abbot F.; Mao, Weiming
    Purpose: Increased intraocular pressure results from increased aqueous humor (AH) outflow resistance at the trabecular meshwork (TM) due to pathologic changes including the formation of cross-linked actin networks (CLANs). Transforming growth factor beta2 (TGFbeta2) is elevated in the AH and TM of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) patients and induces POAG-associated TM changes, including CLANs. We determined the role of individual TGFbeta2 signaling pathways in CLAN formation. Methods: Cultured nonglaucomatous human TM (NTM) cells were treated with control or TGFbeta2, with or without the inhibitors of TGFbeta receptor, Smad3, c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK), extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK), P38, or Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK). NTM cells were cotreated with TGFbeta2 plus inhibitors for 10 days or pretreated with TGFbeta2 for 10 days followed by 1-hour inhibitor treatment. NTM cells were immunostained with phalloidin-Alexa-488 and 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). Data were analyzed using 1-way ANOVA and Dunnett's post hoc test. Results: TGFbeta2 significantly induced CLAN formation (n = 6 to 12, P < 0.05), which was completely inhibited by TGFbeta receptor, Smad3, and ERK inhibitors, as well as completely or partially inhibited by JNK, P38, and ROCK inhibitors, depending on cell strains. One-hour exposure to ROCK inhibitor completely resolved formed CLANs (P < 0.05), whereas TGFbeta receptor, Smad3 inhibitor, and ERK inhibitors resulted in partial or complete resolution. The JNK and P38 inhibitors showed partial or no resolution. Among these inhibitors, the ROCK inhibitor was the most disruptive to the actin stress fibers, whereas ERK inhibition showed the least disruption. Conclusions: TGFbeta2-induced CLANs in NTM cells were prevented and resolved using various pathway inhibitors. Apart from CLAN inhibition, some of these inhibitors also had different effects on actin stress fibers.
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    Glucocorticoid Receptor Transactivation Is Required for Glucocorticoid-Induced Ocular Hypertension and Glaucoma
    (ARVO Journals, 2019-05) Patel, Gaurang C.; Millar, J. Cameron; Clark, Abbot F.
    Purpose: Glucocorticoid (GC)-induced ocular hypertension (GC-OHT) is a serious side effect of prolonged GC therapy that can lead to glaucoma and permanent vision loss. GCs cause a plethora of changes in the trabecular meshwork (TM), an ocular tissue that regulates intraocular pressure (IOP). GCs act through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and the GR regulates transcription both through transactivation and transrepression. Many of the anti-inflammatory properties of GCs are mediated by GR transrepression, while GR transactivation largely accounts for GC metabolic effects and side effects of GC therapy. There is no evidence showing which of the two mechanisms plays a role in GC-OHT. Methods: GRdim transgenic mice (which have active transrepression and impaired transactivation) and wild-type (WT) C57BL/6J mice received weekly periocular dexamethasone acetate (DEX-Ac) injections. IOP, outflow facilities, and biochemical changes to the TM were determined. Results: GRdim mice did not develop GC-OHT after continued DEX treatment, while WT mice had significantly increased IOP and decreased outflow facilities. Both TM tissue in eyes of DEX-treated GRdim mice and cultured TM cells isolated from GRdim mice had reduced or no change in the expression of fibronectin, myocilin, collagen type I, and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA). GRdim mouse TM (MTM) cells also had a significant reduction in DEX-induced cytoskeletal changes, which was clearly seen in WT MTM cells. Conclusions: We provide the first evidence for the role of GR transactivation in regulating GC-mediated gene expression in the TM and in the development of GC-OHT. This discovery suggests a novel therapeutic approach for treating ocular inflammation without causing GC-OHT and glaucoma.
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    Subtype-specific response of retinal ganglion cells to optic nerve crush
    (Springer Nature, 2018-06-28) Daniel, S.; Clark, Abbot F.; McDowell, Colleen M.
    Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease with retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss, optic nerve degeneration and subsequent vision loss. There are about 30 different subtypes of RGCs whose response to glaucomatous injury is not well characterized. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the response of 4 RGC subtypes in a mouse model of optic nerve crush (ONC). In this study, we also evaluated the pattern of axonal degeneration in RGC subtypes after nerve injury. We found that out of the 4 subtypes, transient-Off alpha RGCs are the most susceptible to injury followed by On-Off direction selective RGCs (DSGC). Non-image forming RGCs are more resilient with ipRGCs exhibiting the most resistance of them all. In contrast, axons degenerate irrespective of their retinal soma after ONC injury. In conclusion, we show that RGCs have subtype specific cell death response to ONC injury and that RGC axons disintegrate in an autonomous fashion undergoing Wallerian degeneration. These discoveries can further direct us towards effective diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to treat optic neuropathies, such as glaucoma.
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    The Role of Wnt/beta-Catenin Signaling and K-Cadherin in the Regulation of Intraocular Pressure
    (ARVO Journals, 2018-03) Webber, Hannah C.; Bermudez, Jaclyn Y.; Millar, J. Cameron; Mao, Weiming; Clark, Abbot F.
    Purpose: Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the trabecular meshwork (TM) is required for maintaining normal intraocular pressure (IOP), although the mechanism(s) behind this are unknown. We hypothesize that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates IOP via beta-catenin's effects on cadherin junctions. Methods: Nonglaucomatous primary human TM (NTM) cells were treated with or without 100 ng/ml Wnt3a, 1 mug/ml sFRP1, or both for 4 to 48 hours. Cells were immunostained for beta-catenin, total cadherins, or cadherin isoforms. Membrane proteins or whole-cell lysates were isolated for Western immunoblotting and probed for cadherin isoforms. RNA was extracted for cDNA synthesis and qPCR analysis of cadherin expression. Some NTM cells were cultured on electric plates for cell impedance assays. Ad5.CMV recombinant adenoviruses encoding K-cadherin, and/or sFRP1 were injected into eyes of 4- to 6-month-old female BALB/cJ mice (n = 8-10). Conscious IOPs were assessed for 35 days. Results: Upon Wnt3a treatment, total cadherin expression increased and beta-catenin accumulated at the TM cell membrane and on processes formed between TM cells. qPCR showed that Wnt3a significantly increased K-cadherin expression in NTM cells (P < 0.01, n = 3), and Western immunoblotting showed that Wnt3a increased K-cadherin in NTM cells, which was inhibited by the addition of sFRP1. Cell impedance assays showed that Wnt3a treatment increased transcellular resistance and anti-K-cadherin siRNA decreased transcellular resistance (P < 0.001, n = 4-6). Our in vivo study showed that K-cadherin significantly decreased sFRP1-induced ocular hypertension (P < 0.05, n = 6). Western immunoblotting also showed that K-cadherin alleviated sFRP1-induced beta-catenin decrease in mouse anterior segments. Conclusions: Our results suggest that cadherins play important roles in the regulation of TM homeostasis and IOP via the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway.
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    ID1 and ID3 are Negative Regulators of TGFbeta2-Induced Ocular Hypertension and Compromised Aqueous Humor Outflow Facility in Mice
    (ARVO Journals, 2021-05-03) Mody, Avani A.; Millar, J. Cameron; Clark, Abbot F.
    Purpose: In POAG, elevated IOP remains the major risk factor in irreversible vision loss. Increased TGFbeta2 expression in POAG aqueous humor and in the trabecular meshwork (TM) amplifies extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and reduces ECM turnover in the TM, leading to a decreased aqueous humor (AH) outflow facility and increased IOP. Inhibitor of DNA binding proteins (ID1 and ID3) inhibit TGFbeta2-induced fibronectin and PAI-1 production in TM cells. We examined the effects of ID1 and ID3 gene expression on TGFbeta2-induced ocular hypertension and decreased AH outflow facility in living mouse eyes. Methods: IOP and AH outflow facility changes were determined using a mouse model of Ad5-hTGFbeta2C226S/C288S-induced ocular hypertension. The physiological function of ID1 and ID3 genes were evaluated using Ad5 viral vectors to enhance or knockdown ID1/ID3 gene expression in the TM of BALB/cJ mice. IOP was measured in conscious mice using a Tonolab impact tonometer. AH outflow facilities were determined by constant flow infusion in live mice. Results: Over-expressing ID1 and ID3 significantly blocked TGFbeta2-induced ocular hypertension (P < 0.0001). Although AH outflow facility was significantly decreased in TGFbeta2-transduced eyes (P < 0.04), normal outflow facility was preserved in eyes injected concurrently with ID1 or ID3 along with TGFbeta2. Knockdown of ID1 or ID3 expression exacerbated TGFbeta2-induced ocular hypertension. Conclusions: Increased expression of ID1 and ID3 suppressed both TGFbeta2-elevated IOP and decreased AH outflow facility. ID1 and/or ID3 proteins thus may show promise as future candidates as IOP-lowering targets in POAG.
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    Glucocorticoid receptor GRbeta regulates glucocorticoid-induced ocular hypertension in mice
    (Springer Nature, 2018-01-16) Patel, Gaurang C.; Liu, Yang; Millar, J. Cameron; Clark, Abbot F.
    Prolonged glucocorticoid (GC) therapy can cause GC-induced ocular hypertension (OHT), which if left untreated progresses to iatrogenic glaucoma and permanent vision loss. The alternatively spliced isoform of glucocorticoid receptor GRbeta acts as dominant negative regulator of GR activity, and it has been shown that overexpressing GRbeta in trabecular meshwork (TM) cells inhibits GC-induced glaucomatous damage in TM cells. The purpose of this study was to use viral vectors to selectively overexpress the GRbeta isoform in the TM of mouse eyes treated with GCs, to precisely dissect the role of GRbeta in regulating steroid responsiveness. We show that overexpression of GRbeta inhibits GC effects on MTM cells in vitro and GC-induced OHT in mouse eyes in vivo. Ad5 mediated GRbeta overexpression reduced the GC induction of fibronectin, collagen 1, and myocilin in TM of mouse eyes both in vitro and in vivo. GRbeta also reversed DEX-Ac induced IOP elevation, which correlated with increased conventional aqueous humor outflow facility. Thus, GRbeta overexpression reduces effects caused by GCs and makes cells more resistant to GC treatment. In conclusion, our current work provides the first evidence of the in vivo physiological role of GRbeta in regulating GC-OHT and GC-mediated gene expression in the TM.
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    Crosstalk Between Transforming Growth Factor Beta-2 and Toll-Like Receptor 4 in the Trabecular Meshwork
    (ARVO Journals, 2022-03) Hernandez, Humberto; Medina-Ortiz, Wanda E.; Luan, Tomi; Clark, Abbot F.; McDowell, Colleen M.
    Purpose: The trabecular meshwork (TM) is involved in the outflow of aqueous humor and intraocular pressure (IOP) regulation. Regulation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by TGFbeta2 signaling pathways in the TM has been extensively studied. Recent evidence has implicated toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the regulation of ECM and fibrogenesis in liver, kidney, lung, and skin. Here, we investigated the role of TGFbeta2-TLR4 signaling crosstalk in the regulation of the ECM in the TM and ocular hypertension. Methods: Cross sections of human donor eyes, primary human TM cells in culture, and dissected mouse TM rings were used to determine Tlr4 expression in the TM. Trabecular meshwork cells in culture were treated with TGFbeta2 (5 ng/mL), TLR4 inhibitor (TAK-242, 15 muM), and a TLR4 ligand (cellular fibronectin isoform [cFN]-EDA). A/J (n = 13), AKR/J (n = 7), BALBc/J (n = 8), C3H/HeJ (n = 20), and C3H/HeOuJ (n = 10) mice were injected intravitreally with adenovirus 5 (Ad5).hTGFbeta2c226s/c228s in one eye, with the uninjected contralateral eye serving as a control. Conscious IOP measurements were taken using a TonoLab rebound tonometer. Results: Toll-like receptor 4 is expressed in the human and mouse TM. Inhibition of TLR4 signaling in the presence of TGFbeta2 decreases fibronectin expression. Activation of TLR4 by cFN-EDA in the presence of TGFbeta2 further increases fibronectin, laminin, and collagen-1 expression, and TLR4 signaling inhibition blocks this effect. Ad5.hTGFbeta2c226s/c228s induces ocular hypertension in wild-type mice but has no effect in Tlr4 mutant (C3H/HeJ) mice. Conclusions: These studies identify TGFbeta2-TLR4 crosstalk as a novel pathway involved in ECM regulation in the TM and ocular hypertension. These data further explain the complex mechanisms involved in the development of glaucomatous TM damage.
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    In vitro and in vivo neuroprotective effects of cJun N-terminal kinase inhibitors on retinal ganglion cells
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2016-04-21) Kim, Byung-Jin; Silverman, Sean M.; Liu, Yang; Wordinger, Robert J.; Pang, Iok-Hou; Clark, Abbot F.
    BACKGROUND: The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway plays an important role in neuronal pathophysiology. Using JNK inhibitors, we examined involvement of the JNK pathway in cultured rat retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death and in mouse retinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury of the visual axis. The in vitro effects of JNK inhibitors were evaluated in cultured adult rat retinal cells enriched in RGCs. Retinal I/R was induced in C57BL/6J mice through elevation of intraocular pressure to 120 mmHg for 60 min followed by reperfusion. SP600125 was administered intraperitoneally once daily for 28 days. Phosphorylation of JNK and c-Jun in the retina was examined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. The thickness of retinal layers and cell numbers in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) were examined using H&E stained retinal cross sections and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Retinal function was measured by scotopic flash electroretinography (ERG). Volumetric measurement of the superior colliculus (SC) as well as VGLUT2 and PSD95 expression were studied. RESULTS: JNK inhibitors SP600125 and TAT-JNK-III, dose-dependently and significantly (p < 0.05) protected against glutamate excitotoxicity and trophic factor withdrawal induced RGC death in culture. In the I/R model, phosphorylation of JNK (pJNK) in the retina was significantly (p < 0.05) increased after injury. I/R injury significantly (p < 0.05) decreased the thickness of retinal layers, including the whole retina, inner plexiform layer, and inner nuclear layer and cell numbers in the GCL. Administration of SP600125 for 28 days protected against all these degenerative morphological changes (p < 0.05). In addition, SP600125 significantly (p < 0.05) protected against I/R-induced reduction in scotopic ERG b-wave amplitude at 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days after injury. SP600125 also protected against the I/R-induced losses in volume and levels of synaptic markers in the SC. Moreover, the protective effects of SP600125 in the retina and SC were also detected even with only 7 days (Days 1-7 after I/R) of SP600125 treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate the important role the JNK pathway plays in retinal degeneration in both in vitro and in vivo models and suggest that JNK inhibitors may be a useful therapeutic strategy for neuroprotection of RGCs in the retina.
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    BMP and Activin Membrane Bound Inhibitor Regulates the Extracellular Matrix in the Trabecular Meshwork
    (ARVO Journals, 2018-04) Hernandez, Humberto; Millar, J. Cameron; Curry, Stacy M.; Clark, Abbot F.; McDowell, Colleen M.
    Purpose: The trabecular meshwork (TM) has an important role in the regulation of aqueous humor outflow and IOP. Regulation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by TGFbeta2 has been studied extensively. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI) has been shown to inhibit or modulate TGFbeta2 signaling. We investigate the role of TGFbeta2 and BAMBI in the regulation of TM ECM and ocular hypertension. Methods: Mouse TM (MTM) cells were isolated from B6;129S1-Bambitm1Jian/J flox mice, characterized for TGFbeta2 and dexamethasone (DEX)-induced expression of fibronectin, collagen-1, collagen-4, laminin, alpha-smooth muscle actin, cross-linked actin networks (CLANs) formation, and DEX-induced myocilin (MYOC) expression. MTM cells were transduced with Ad5.GFP to identify transduction efficiency. MTM cells and mouse eyes were transduced with Ad5.Null, Ad5.Cre, Ad5.TGFbeta2, or Ad5.TGFbeta2 + Ad5.Cre to evaluate the effect on ECM production, IOP, and outflow facility. Results: MTM cells express TM markers and respond to DEX and TGFbeta2. Ad5.GFP at 100 MOI had the highest transduction efficiency. Bambi knockdown by Ad5.Cre and Ad5.TGFbeta2 increased fibronectin, collagen-1, and collagen-4 in TM cells in culture and tissue. Ad5.Cre, Ad5.TGFbeta2, and Ad5.TGFbeta2 + Ad5.Cre each significantly induced ocular hypertension and lowered aqueous humor outflow facility in transduced eyes. Conclusions: We show for the first time to our knowledge that knockdown of Bambi alters ECM expression in cultured cells and mouse TM, reduces outflow facility, and causes ocular hypertension. These data provide a novel insight into the development of glaucomatous TM damage and identify BAMBI as an important regulator of TM ECM and ocular hypertension.
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    Consensus Recommendation for Mouse Models of Ocular Hypertension to Study Aqueous Humor Outflow and Its Mechanisms
    (ARVO Journals, 2022-02) McDowell, Colleen M.; Kizhatil, Krishnakumar; Elliott, Michael H.; Overby, Darryl R.; van Batenburg-Sherwood, Joseph; Millar, J. Cameron; Kuehn, Markus H.; Zode, Gulab S.; Acott, Ted S.; Anderson, Michael G.; Bhattacharya, Sanjoy K.; Bertrand, Jacques A.; Borras, Terete; Bovenkamp, Diane E.; Cheng, Lin; Danias, John; De Ieso, Michael Lucio; Du, Yiqin; Faralli, Jennifer A.; Fuchshofer, Rudolph; Ganapathy, Preethi S.; Gong, Haiyan; Herberg, Samuel; Hernandez, Humberto; Humphries, Peter; John, Simon W. M.; Kaufman, Paul L.; Keller, Kate E.; Kelley, Mary J.; Kelly, Ruth A.; Krizaj, David; Kumar, Ajay; Leonard, Brian C.; Lieberman, Raquel L.; Liton, Paloma; Liu, Yutao; Liu, Katy C.; Lopez, Navita N.; Mao, Weiming; Mavlyutov, Timur A.; McDonnell, Fiona; McLellan, Gillian J.; Mzyk, Philip; Nartey, Andrews; Pasquale, Louis R.; Patel, Gaurang C.; Pattabiraman, Padmanabhan P.; Peters, Donna M.; Raghunathan, Vijaykrishna; Rao, Ponugoti Vasantha; Rayana, Naga; Raychaudhuri, Urmimala; Reina-Torres, Ester; Ren, Ruiyi; Rhee, Douglas; Chowdhury, Uttio Roy; Samples, John R.; Samples, E. Griffen; Sharif, Najam; Schuman, Joel S.; Sheffield, Val C.; Stevenson, Cooper H.; Soundararajan, Avinash; Subramanian, Preeti; Sugali, Chenna Kesavulu; Sun, Yang; Toris, Carol B.; Torrejon, Karen Y.; Vahabikashi, Amir; Vranka, Janice A.; Wang, Ting; Willoughby, Colin E.; Xin, Chen; Yun, Hongmin; Zhang, Hao F.; Fautsch, Michael P.; Tamm, Ernst R.; Clark, Abbot F.; Ethier, C. Ross; Stamer, W. Daniel
    Due to their similarities in anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology to humans, mice are a valuable model system to study the generation and mechanisms modulating conventional outflow resistance and thus intraocular pressure. In addition, mouse models are critical for understanding the complex nature of conventional outflow homeostasis and dysfunction that results in ocular hypertension. In this review, we describe a set of minimum acceptable standards for developing, characterizing, and utilizing mouse models of open-angle ocular hypertension. We expect that this set of standard practices will increase scientific rigor when using mouse models and will better enable researchers to replicate and build upon previous findings.
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    A Comparison of Gene Expression Profiles between Glucocorticoid Responder and Non-Responder Bovine Trabecular Meshwork Cells Using RNA Sequencing
    (PLOS, 2017-01-09) Bermudez, Jaclyn Y.; Webber, Hannah C.; Brown, Bartley; Braun, Terry A.; Clark, Abbot F.; Mao, Weiming
    The most common ocular side effect of glucocorticoid (GC) therapy is GC-induced ocular hypertension (OHT) and GC-induced glaucoma (GIG). GC-induced OHT occurs in about 40% of the general population, while the other 60% are resistant. This study aims to determine the genes and pathways involved in differential GC responsiveness in the trabecular meshwork (TM). Using paired bovine eyes, one eye was perfusion-cultured with 100nM dexamethasone (DEX), while the fellow eye was used to establish a bovine TM (BTM) cell strain. Based on maximum IOP change in the perfused eye, the BTM cell strain was identified as a DEX-responder or non-responder strain. Three responder and three non-responder BTM cell strains were cultured, treated with 0.1% ethanol or 100nM DEX for 7 days. RNA and proteins were extracted for RNA sequencing (RNAseq), qPCR, and Western immunoblotting (WB), respectively. Data were analyzed using the human and bovine genome databases as well as Tophat2 software. Genes were grouped and compared using Student's t-test. We found that DEX induced fibronectin expression in responder BTM cells but not in non-responder cells using WB. RNAseq showed between 93 and 606 differentially expressed genes in different expression groups between responder and non-responder BTM cells. The data generated by RNAseq were validated using qPCR. Pathway analyses showed 35 pathways associated with differentially expressed genes. These genes and pathways may play important roles in GC-induced OHT and will help us to better understand differential ocular responsiveness to GCs.
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    C1q propagates microglial activation and neurodegeneration in the visual axis following retinal ischemia/reperfusion injury
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2016-03-24) Silverman, Sean M.; Kim, Byung-Jin; Howell, Garreth R.; Miller, Joselyn; John, Simon W. M.; Wordinger, Robert J.; Clark, Abbot F.
    BACKGROUND: C1q represents the initiating protein of the classical complement cascade, however recent findings indicate pathway independent roles such as developmental pruning of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons. Furthermore, chronic neuroinflammation, including increased expression of C1q and activation of microglia and astrocytes, appears to be a common finding among many neurodegenerative disease models. Here we compare the effects of a retinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury on glial activation and neurodegeneration in wild type (WT) and C1qa-deficient mice in the retina and superior colliculus (SC). Retinal I/R was induced in mice through elevation of intraocular pressure to 120 mmHg for 60 min followed by reperfusion. Glial cell activation and population changes were assessed using immunofluorescence. Neuroprotection was determined using histological measurements of retinal layer thickness, RGC counts, and visual function by flash electroretinography (ERG). RESULTS: Retinal I/R injury significantly upregulated C1q expression in the retina as early as 72 h and within 7 days in the superficial SC, and was sustained as long as 28 days. Accompanying increased C1q expression was activation of microglia and astrocytes as well as a significantly increased glial population density observed in the retina and SC. Microglial activation and changes in density were completely ablated in C1qa-deficient mice, interestingly however there was no effect on astrocytes. Furthermore, loss of C1qa significantly rescued I/R-induced loss of RGCs and protected against retinal layer thinning in comparison to WT mice. ERG assessment revealed early preservation of b-wave amplitude deficits from retinal I/R injury due to C1qa-deficiency that was lost by day 28. CONCLUSIONS: Our results for the first time demonstrate the spatiotemporal changes in the neuroinflammatory response following retinal I/R injury at both local and distal sites of injury. In addition, we have shown a role for C1q as a primary mediator of microglial activation and pathological damage. This suggests developmental mechanisms of C1q may be re-engaged during injury response, modulation of which may be beneficial for neuroprotection.
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    HDAC Inhibitor-Mediated Epigenetic Regulation of Glaucoma-Associated TGFbeta2 in the Trabecular Meshwork
    (ARVO Journals, 2016-07-01) Bermudez, Jaclyn Y.; Webber, Hannah C.; Patel, Gaurang C.; Liu, Xiangyang; Cheng, Yi-Qiang; Clark, Abbot F.; Mao, Weiming
    PURPOSE: Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) results from glaucomatous damage to the trabecular meshwork (TM). The glaucoma-associated factor TGFbeta2 is increased in aqueous humor and TM of POAG patients. We hypothesize that histone acetylation has a role in dysregulated TGFbeta2 expression. METHODS: Protein acetylation was compared between nonglaucomatous TM (NTM) and glaucomatous TM (GTM) cells using Western immunoblotting (WB). Nonglaucomatous TM cells were treated with 10 nM thailandepsin-A (TDP-A), a potent histone deacetylase inhibitor for 4 days. Total and nuclear proteins, RNA, and nuclear protein-DNA complexes were harvested for WB, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, respectively. Paired bovine eyes were perfused with TDP-A versus DMSO, or TDP-A versus TDP-A plus the TGFbeta pathway inhibitor LY364947 for 5 to 9 days. Intraocular pressure, TM, and perfusate proteins were compared. RESULTS: We found increased acetylated histone 3 and total protein acetylation in the GTM cells and TDP-A treated NTM cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that TDP-A induced histone hyperacetylation associated with the TGFbeta2 promoter. This change of acetylation significantly increased TGFbeta2 mRNA and protein expression in NTM cells. In perfusion-cultured bovine eyes, TDP-A increased TGFbeta2 in the perfusate as well as elevated IOP. Histologic and immunofluorescent analyses showed increased extracellular matrix and cytoskeletal proteins in the TM of TDP-A treated bovine eyes. Cotreatment with the TGFbeta pathway inhibitor LY364947 blocked TDP-A-induced ocular hypertension. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that histone acetylation has an important role in increased expression of the glaucoma-associated factor TGFbeta2. Histone hyperacetylation may be the initiator of glaucomatous damage to the TM.