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|Title:||Progression of retinal ganglion cell loss observed as a result of anterior segment dysgenesis following conditional deletion of activating protein-2 in cranial neural crest cells|
|Keywords:||Eye;Glaucoma;Anterior segment dysgenesis;Experimental model;Activating protein-2beta;Müller cells;Intraocular pressure;Aqueous humor|
|Abstract:||Our lab has shown that conditionally disrupting the tcfap2beta gene, responsible for the activating protein-2beta (AP-2beta) transcription factor, exclusively in the craniofacial neural crest cells, leads to anterior segment dysgenesis. Subsequent loss of the corneal endothelium results in the adherence of the iris to the corneal stroma, causing closure of the iridocorneal angle. The activating protein-2beta neural crest cell knockout (AP-2beta NCC KO) model involves a complete blockage of the both the conventional (through the trabecular meshwork) and non-conventional (uveoscleral) pathways for aqueous humor drainage, and therefore it could be used as a powerful experimental model for glaucoma. As shown by our previous work, elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and a 35% decrease in the number of cells in the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) layer was observed in AP-2beta NCC KO mice by 2 months; 6 to 11 months sooner than other reported mouse models of glaucoma. These observations suggested that the AP-2beta NCC KO mouse could be a novel and cost-effective experimental model for glaucoma if the RGC loss occurred progressively rather than due to a congenital defect. The purpose of this research project was to investigate how the retinal ganglion cell layer and macroglial activity changes with respect to age in the AP-2beta NCC KO mutant through immunofluorescence. Specifically, it was investigated whether the loss of RGCs was progressive and due to the increased IOP caused by the blockage of the uveoscleral drainage pathway. A significant decrease in the number of RGCs was observed between P4 and P10 in the retinal periphery of both WT and AP-2beta NCC KO mice (p<0.05), which is indicative of the programmed cell death that occurs due to retinal pruning during development. No statistical difference between WT and AP-2beta NCC KO mice phenotypes was observed at postnatal day 4 (P4), suggesting that no developmental defect resulted in the significant loss of RGCs at 2 months. In all other time points investigated, while no statistical difference was found between WT and the AP-2 NCC KO mutant, a clear downward trend was present in the AP-2 NCC KO mutant retinal ganglion cell layer from P10 to P40. There was also an expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) by Müller cells, indicating the presence of neuroinflammation at P35 and P40. This substantiates the potential P42 starting point of neurodegeneration our lab previously observed. This was further corroborated with Müller cell-associated expression of GFAP at P35 and P40 exclusively in the AP-2beta NCC KO mouse. Overall, we have shown that the retinal damage observed in our AP-2beta NCC KO mouse is not due to a developmental defect, but rather occurs over time. Thus, this mouse model, which appears to block both the conventional and unconventional uveoscleral pathways, has a profound effect on aqueous humor drainage. As a result, the model requires relatively little time to observe an increase in IOP and subsequent RGC loss. Our findings suggest that the AP-2beta NCC KO mouse can be a novel, powerful, and extremely cost-effective experimental model for glaucoma.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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