Endothelin-1-Induced Proliferation of Human Optic Nerve Head Astrocytes Under Hypoxia




Desai, Devashish


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Desai, Devashish, Endothelin-1-Induced Proliferation of Cultured Human Optic Nerve Head Astrocytes under Hypoxia. Master of Science (Biomedical Sciences). Purpose: Optic nerve head astrocytes (ONAs) normally support and protect the axons of retinal ganglion cells exiting the eye. Along with effects related to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), proliferation and activation of ONAs, known as ‘astrogliosis’, is also thought to contribute to the pathophysiology of glaucoma by distributing axonal transport and preventing axon regeneration. Concentrations of endothelin-1 (ET-1) are elevated in glaucomatous eyes and in animal models for glaucoma. ET-1 injection into the eye causes reduction of ocular blood flow. ET-1 causes a time-dependent proliferation of human ONAs. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), a cytokine, which is also elevated in glaucomatous optic nerve head, promotes ET-1 release from ocular cells and could potentially stimulate ET-1 secretion from the ONAs. Hypoxia resulting from ischemia, which is produced by the elevation of IOP or vasospasm in the retinal vasculature, is considered a significant factor contributing to the stress as the glaucomatous optic nerve head. Methods: Concentrations of ET-1 secreted by hONAs into cell culture media after hypoxia and TNF-α treatment was measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Proliferation of hONAs was measured using a proliferation assay (formazan assay), performed at the end of various time periods of incubation with TNPα and ET-1 under normoxia or hypoxia. The involvement of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) in hONA proliferation was examined using MAPK inhibitors and Western blot analyses. Results: Cell culture media collected from hONAs after 24-hour hypoxia with concurrent TNF-α treatment showed a 500% increase in the irET-1. Under normoxia, both TNF-α and ET-1 caused moderate proliferation of hONAs. Under hypoxia, TNF-α-induced proliferation was greatly increased. Conclusion: Hypoxia augments TNF-a and ET-1 growth of optic nerve head astrocytes, by way of increasing ET-1 synthesis and release as well as mitogenesis. Therefore reactive ONAs could be the common denominator underlying optic nerve damage in glaucoma since their localization makes them susceptible to mechanistic and ischemic influences in addition to influences of ET-1 and TNF-α. Keywords: astrocyte; endothelin-1; tumor-necrosis factor-α; hypoxia; proliferation; astrogliosis; glaucoma; optic nerve