bims-mideyd Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dysfunction in eye diseases
Issue of 2023‒10‒29
twelve papers selected by
Raji Shyam, Indiana University Bloomington

  1. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Sep 30. pii: 1820. [Epub ahead of print]12(10):
      Although AMD is a complex disease, oxidative stress is a crucial contributor to its development, especially in view of the higher oxygen demand of the retina. Paraoxonase 2 (PON2) is a ubiquitously and constitutively expressed antioxidant protein that is found intracellularly associated with mitochondrial membranes and modulates mitochondrial ROS production and function. The contribution of PON2 to AMD has not been studied to date. In this study, we examined the role of PON2 in AMD utilizing both in vitro and in vivo models of AMD with emphasis on mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial localization and regulation of PON2 following oxidative stress were determined in human primary cultured retinal pigment epithelium (hRPE) cells. PON2 was knocked down in RPE cells using siRNA and mitochondrial bioenergetics were measured. To investigate the function of PON2 in the retina, WT and PON2-deficient mice were administered NaIO3 (20 mg/kg) intravenously; fundus imaging, optical coherence tomography (OCT), electroretinography (ERG) were conducted; and retinal thickness and cell death were measured and quantified. In hRPE, mitochondrial localization of PON2 increased markedly with stress. Moreover, a time-dependent regulation of PON2 was observed following oxidative stress, with an initial significant increase in expression followed by a significant decrease. Mitochondrial bioenergetic parameters (basal respiration, ATP production, spare respiratory capacity, and maximal respiration) showed a significant decrease with oxidative stress, which was further exacerbated in the absence of PON2. NaIO3 treatment caused significant retinal degeneration, retinal thinning, and reduced rod and cone function in PON2-deficient mice when compared to WT mice. The apoptotic cells and active caspase 3 significantly increased in PON2-deficient mice treated with NaIO3, when compared to WT mice. Our investigation demonstrates that deficiency of PON2 results in RPE mitochondrial dysfunction and a decline in retinal function. These findings imply that PON2 may have a beneficial role in retinal pathophysiology and is worthy of further investigation.
    Keywords:  RPE; mitochondrial bioenergetics; oxidative stress; paraoxonase; retinal function; sodium iodate
  2. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 10 03. 64(13): 41
      Purpose: Proteopathy is believed to contribute to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Much research indicates that AMD begins in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which is associated with formation of extracellular drusen, a clinical hallmark of AMD. Human RPE produces a drusen-associated abnormal protein, the exon Ⅵ-skipping splice isoform of retinal G protein-coupled receptor (RGR-d). In this study, we investigate the detrimental effects of RGR-d on cultured cells and mouse retina.Methods: ARPE-19 cells were stably infected by lentivirus overexpressing RGR or RGR-d and were treated with MG132, sometimes combined with or without endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress inducer, tunicamycin. RGR and RGR-d protein expression, degeneration pathway, and potential cytotoxicity were explored. Homozygous RGR-d mice aged 8 or 14 months were fed with a high-fat diet for 3 months and then subjected to ocular examination and histopathology experiments.
    Results: We confirm that RGR-d is proteotoxic under various conditions. In ARPE-19 cells, RGR-d is misfolded and almost completely degraded via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Unlike normal RGR, RGR-d increases ER stress, triggers the unfolded protein response, and exerts potent cytotoxicity. Aged RGR-d mice manifest disrupted RPE cell integrity, apoptotic photoreceptors, choroidal deposition of complement C3, and CD86+CD32+ proinflammatory cell infiltration into retina and RPE-choroid. Furthermore, the AMD-like phenotype of RGR-d mice can be aggravated by a high-fat diet.
    Conclusions: Our study confirmed the pathogenicity of the RGR splice isoform and corroborated a significant role of proteopathy in AMD. These findings may contribute to greater comprehension of the multifactorial causes of AMD.
  3. Cell Death Discov. 2023 Oct 25. 9(1): 398
      Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common blinding disease in the elderly population. However, there are still many uncertainties regarding the pathophysiology at the molecular level. Currently, impaired energy metabolism in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells is discussed as one major hallmark of early AMD pathophysiology. Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) are important modulators of mitochondrial function. Moreover, smoking is the most important modifiable risk factor for AMD and is known to impair mitochondrial integrity. Therefore, our aim was to establish a cell-based assay that enables us to investigate how smoking affects mitochondrial function in conjunction with HIF signaling in RPE cells. For this purpose, we treated a human RPE cell line with cigarette smoke extract (CSE) under normoxia (21% O2), hypoxia (1% O2), or by co-treatment with Roxadustat, a clinically approved HIF stabilizer. CSE treatment impaired mitochondrial integrity, involving increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, and altered mitochondrial morphology. Treatment effects on cell metabolism were analyzed using a Seahorse Bioanalyzer. Mitochondrial respiration and ATP production were impaired in CSE-treated cells under normoxia. Surprisingly, CSE-treated RPE cells also exhibited decreased glycolytic rate under normoxia, causing a bioenergetic crisis, because two major metabolic pathways that provide ATP were impaired by CSE. Downregulation of glycolytic rate was HIF-dependent because HIF-1α, the α-subunit of HIF-1, was downregulated by CSE on the protein level, especially under normoxia. Moreover, hypoxia incubation and treatment with Roxadustat restored glycolytic flux. Taken together, our in vitro model provides interesting insights into HIF-dependent regulation of glycolysis under normoxic conditions, which will enable us to investigate signaling pathways involved in RPE metabolism in health and disease.
  4. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2023 Oct 24. 11(1): 171
      Glaucoma, the second leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, is associated with age and sensitivity to intraocular pressure (IOP). We have shown that elevated IOP causes an early increase in levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the microbead occlusion mouse model. We also detected an endogenous antioxidant response mediated by Nuclear factor erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 (NRF2), a transcription factor that binds to the antioxidant response element (ARE) and increases transcription of antioxidant genes. Our previous studies show that inhibiting this pathway results in earlier and greater glaucoma pathology. In this study, we sought to determine if this endogenous antioxidant response is driven by the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) or glial cells. We used Nrf2fl/fl mice and cell-type specific adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) expressing Cre to alter Nrf2 levels in either the RGCs or glial cells. Then, we quantified the endogenous antioxidant response, visual function and optic nerve histology after IOP elevation. We found that knock-down of Nrf2 in either cell type blunts the antioxidant response and results in earlier pathology and vision loss. Further, we show that delivery of Nrf2 to the RGCs is sufficient to provide neuroprotection. In summary, both the RGCs and glial cells contribute to the antioxidant response, but treatment of the RGCs alone with increased Nrf2 is sufficient to delay onset of vision loss and axon degeneration in this induced model of glaucoma.
    Keywords:  Antioxidant; Glia; Nrf2; Optic nerve; Oxidative stress; Retinal ganglion cell; glaucoma
  5. Mol Cells. 2023 Oct 23.
      Autophagy dysfunction is associated with human diseases and conditions including neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic issues, and chronic infections. Additionally, the decline in autophagic activity contributes to tissue and organ dysfunction and aging-related diseases. Several factors, such as down-regulation of autophagy components and activators, oxidative damage, microinflammation, and impaired autophagy flux, are linked to autophagy decline. An autophagy flux impairment (AFI) has been implicated in neurological disorders and in certain other pathological conditions. Here, to enhance our understanding of AFI, we conducted a comprehensive literature review of findings derived from two well-studied cellular stress models: glucose deprivation and replicative senescence. Glucose deprivation is a condition in which cells heavily rely on oxidative phosphorylation for ATP generation. Autophagy is activated, but its flux is hindered at the autolysis step, primarily due to an impairment of lysosomal acidity. Cells undergoing replicative senescence also experience AFI, which is also known to be caused by lysosomal acidity failure. Both glucose deprivation and replicative senescence elevate levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), affecting lysosomal acidification. Mitochondrial alterations play a crucial role in elevating ROS generation and reducing lysosomal acidity, highlighting their association with autophagy dysfunction and disease conditions. This paper delves into the underlying molecular and cellular pathways of AFI in glucose-deprived cells, providing insights into potential strategies for managing AFI that is driven by lysosomal acidity failure. Furthermore, the investigation on the roles of mitochondrial dysfunction sheds light on the potential effectiveness of modulating mitochondrial function to overcome AFI, offering new possibilities for therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  V-ATPase; autophagy; impairment of autophagy flux; lysosomal acidity; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species
  6. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Sep 30. pii: 1817. [Epub ahead of print]12(10):
      BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress-induced retinal degeneration is among the main contributing factors of serious ocular pathologies that can lead to irreversible blindness. αB-crystallin (cry) is an abundant component of the visual pathway in the vitreous humor, which modulates protein and cellular homeostasis. Within this protein exists a 20 amino acid fragment (mini-cry) with both chaperone and antiapoptotic activity. This study fuses this mini-cry peptide to two temperature-sensitive elastin-like polypeptides (ELP) with the goal of prolonging its activity in the retina.METHODS: The biophysical properties and chaperone activity of cry-ELPs were confirmed by mass spectrometry, cloud-point determination, and dynamic light scattering 'DLS'. For the first time, this work compares a simpler ELP architecture, cry-V96, with a previously reported ELP diblock copolymer, cry-SI. Their relative mechanisms of cellular uptake and antiapoptotic potential were tested using retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19). Oxidative stress was induced with H2O2 and comparative internalization of both cry-ELPs was made using 2D and 3D culture models. We also explored the role of lysosomal membrane permeabilization by confocal microscopy.
    RESULTS: The results indicated successful ELP fusion, cellular association with both 2D and 3D cultures, which were enhanced by oxidative stress. Both constructs suppressed apoptotic signaling (cleaved caspase-3); however, cry-V96 exhibited greater lysosomal escape.
    CONCLUSIONS: ELP architecture is a critical factor to optimize delivery of therapeutic peptides, such as the anti-apoptotic mini-cry peptide; furthermore, the protection of mini-cry via ELPs is enhanced by lysosomal membrane permeabilization.
    Keywords:  3D culture; DLS; confocal microscopy; crystallin; immunofluorescence; lysosome; oxidative stress; peptide; transition temperature ‘Tt’
  7. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2023 ;13 1240903
      Purpose: In vivo data indicate that mouse corneas exposed to PM10 showed early perforation and thinning after infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To understand the mechanisms underlying this finding, we tested the effects of PM10 and the mitochondria targeted anti-oxidant SKQ1 in immortalized human corneal epithelial cells (HCET) that were challenged with Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain 19660.Methods: Mouse corneas were infected with strain 19660 after a 2 week whole-body exposure to PM10 or control air and assessed by clinical scores, slit lamp photography and western blot. HCET were exposed to 100μg/ml PM10 for 24h before challenge with strain 19660 (MOI 20). A subset of cells were pre-treated with 50nM SKQ1 for 1h before PM10 exposure. Phase contrast microscopy was used to study cell morphology, cell viability was measured by an MTT assay, and ROS by DCFH-DA. Levels of pro-inflammatory markers and anti-oxidant enzymes were evaluated by RT-PCR, western blot and ELISA. Reduced glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were evaluated by assay kits.
    Results: In vivo, whole body exposure to PM10 vs. control air exposed mouse corneas showed early perforation and/or corneal thinning at 3 days post infection, accompanied by increased TNF-α and decreased SOD2 protein levels. In vitro, PM10 induced a dose dependent reduction in cell viability of HCET and significantly increased mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory molecules compared to control. Exposure to PM10 before bacterial challenge further amplified the reduction in cell viability and GSH levels. Furthermore, PM10 exposure also exacerbated the increase in MDA and ROS levels and phase contrast microscopy revealed more rounded cells after strain 19660 challenge. PM10 exposure also further increased the mRNA and protein levels of pro-inflammatory molecules, while anti-inflammatory IL-10 was decreased. SKQ1 reversed the rounded cell morphology observed by phase contrast microscopy, increased levels of MDA, ROS and pro-inflammatory molecules, and restored IL-10.
    Conclusions: PM10 induces decreased cell viability, oxidative stress and inflammation in HCET and has an additive effect upon bacterial challenge. SKQ1 protects against oxidative stress and inflammation induced by PM10 after bacterial challenge by reversing these effects. The findings provide insight into mechanisms underlying early perforation and thinning observed in infected corneas of PM10 exposed mice.
    Keywords:  P. aeruginosa; PM10; cornea; epithelium; human
  8. Metabolites. 2023 Oct 20. pii: 1100. [Epub ahead of print]13(10):
      Protein aggregation is the etiopathogenesis of the three most profound vision-threatening eye diseases: age-related cataract, presbyopia, and age-related macular degeneration. This perspective organizes known information on ATP and protein aggregation with a fundamental unrecognized function of ATP. With recognition that maintenance of protein solubility is related to the high intracellular concentration of ATP in cells, tissues, and organs, we hypothesize that (1) ATP serves a critical molecular function for organismal homeostasis of proteins and (2) the hydrotropic feature of ATP prevents pathological protein aggregation while assisting in the maintenance of protein solubility and cellular, tissue, and organismal function. As such, the metabolite ATP plays an extraordinarily important role in the prevention of protein aggregation in the leading causes of vision loss or blindness worldwide.
    Keywords:  age; eye; hydration; hydrotrope; ice-like; lens protein; organized water; retinal protein; water of hydration
  9. Autophagy. 2023 Oct 24.
      Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is the most critical pathological factor in the development of low back pain. The maintenance of nucleus pulposus (NP) cell and intervertebral disc integrity benefits largely from well-controlled mitochondrial quality, surveilled by mitochondrial dynamics (fission and fusion) and mitophagy, but the outcome is cellular context-dependent that remain to be clarified. Our studies revealed that the loss of NLRX1 is correlated with NP cell senescence and IDD progression, which involve disordered mitochondrial quality. Further using animal and in vitro tissue and cell models, we demonstrated that NLRX1 could facilitate mitochondrial quality by coupling mitochondrial dynamic factors (p-DNM1L, L-OPA1:S-OPA1, OMA1) and mitophagy activity. Conversely, mitochondrial collapse occurred in NLRX1-defective NP cells and switched on the compensatory PINK1-PRKN pathway that led to excessive mitophagy and aggressive NP cell senescence. Mechanistically, NLRX1 was originally shown to interact with zinc transporter SLC39A7 and modulate mitochondrial Zn2+ trafficking via the formation of an NLRX1-SLC39A7 complex on the mitochondrial membrane of NP cells, subsequently orchestrating mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy. The restoration of NLRX1 function by gene overexpression or pharmacological agonist (NX-13) treatment showed great potential for regulating mitochondrial fission with synchronous fusion and mitophagy, thus sustaining mitochondrial homeostasis, ameliorating NP cell senescence and rejuvenating intervertebral discs. Collectively, our findings highlight a working model whereby the NLRX1-SLC39A7 complex coupled mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy activity to surveil and target damaged mitochondria for degradation, which determines the beneficial function of the mitochondrial surveillance system and ultimately rejuvenates intervertebral discs.
    Keywords:  Intervertebral disc degeneration; NLRX1; SLC39A7; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy; nucleus pulposus
  10. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Sep 28. pii: 1810. [Epub ahead of print]12(10):
      Aging is characterized by a number of hallmarks including loss of mitochondrial homeostasis and decay in stress tolerance, among others. Unicellular eukaryotes have been widely used to study chronological aging. As a general trait, calorie restriction and activation of mitochondrial respiration has been proposed to contribute to an elongated lifespan. Most aging-related studies have been conducted with the Crabtree-positive yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and with deletion collections deriving from these conventional yeast models. We have performed an unbiased characterization of longevity using thirteen fungi species, including S. cerevisiae and S. pombe, covering a wide range of the Ascomycota clade. We have determined their mitochondrial activity by oxygen consumption, complex IV activity, and mitochondrial redox potential, and the results derived from these three methodologies are highly overlapping. We have phenotypically compared the lifespans of the thirteen species and their capacity to tolerate oxidative stress. Longevity and elevated tolerance to hydrogen peroxide are correlated in some but not all yeasts. Mitochondrial activity per se cannot anticipate the length of the lifespan. We have classified the strains in four groups, with members of group 1 (Kluyveromyces lactis, Saccharomyces bayanus and Lodderomyces elongisporus) displaying high mitochondrial activity, elevated resistance to oxidative stress, and elongated lifespan.
    Keywords:  Ascomycota; H2O2 tolerance; S. cerevisiae; S. pombe; aging; mitochondrial activity; respiration
  11. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Oct 24.
      The primary underlying contributor for cataract, a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness worldwide, is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress triggers protein damage, cell apoptosis, and subsequent cataract formation. The nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) serves as a principal redox transcriptional factor in the lens, offering a line of defense against oxidative stress. In response to oxidative challenges, Nrf2 dissociates from its inhibitor, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), moves to the nucleus, and binds to the antioxidant response element (ARE) to activate the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant system. In parallel, oxidative stress also induces endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS). Reactive oxygen species (ROS), generated during oxidative stress, can directly damage proteins, causing them to misfold. Initially, the unfolded protein response (UPR) activates to mitigate excessive misfolded proteins. Yet, under persistent or severe stress, the failure to rectify protein misfolding leads to an accumulation of these aberrant proteins, pushing the UPR towards an apoptotic pathway, further contributing to cataractogenesis. Importantly, there is a dynamic interaction between the Nrf2 antioxidant system and the ERS/UPR mechanism in the lens. This interplay, where ERS/UPR can modulate Nrf2 expression and vice versa, holds potential therapeutic implications for cataract prevention and treatment. This review explores the intricate crosstalk between these systems, aiming to illuminate strategies for future advancements in cataract prevention and intervention. The Nrf2-dependent antioxidant system communicates and cross-talks with the ERS/UPR pathway. Both mechanisms are proposed to play pivotal roles in the onset of cataract formation.
    Keywords:  Cataract; ERS; Nrf2; Protein glutathionylation; UPR
  12. Cells. 2023 Oct 20. pii: 2496. [Epub ahead of print]12(20):
      Mitochondrial dysfunction in astrocytes has been implicated in the development of various neurological disorders. Mitophagy, mitochondrial autophagy, is required for proper mitochondrial function by preventing the accumulation of damaged mitochondria. The importance of mitophagy, specifically in the astrocytes of the optic nerve (ON), has been little studied. We introduce an animal model in which two separate mutations act synergistically to produce severe ON degeneration. The first mutation is in Cryba1, which encodes βA3/A1-crystallin, a lens protein also expressed in astrocytes, where it regulates lysosomal pH. The second mutation is in Bckdk, which encodes branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase kinase, which is ubiquitously expressed in the mitochondrial matrix and involved in the catabolism of the branched-chain amino acids. BCKDK is essential for mitochondrial function and the amelioration of oxidative stress. Neither of the mutations in isolation has a significant effect on the ON, but animals homozygous for both mutations (DM) exhibit very serious ON degeneration. ON astrocytes from these double-mutant (DM) animals have lysosomal defects, including impaired mitophagy, and dysfunctional mitochondria. Urolithin A can rescue the mitophagy impairment in DM astrocytes and reduce ON degeneration. These data demonstrate that efficient mitophagy in astrocytes is required for ON health and functional integrity.
    Keywords:  BCKDK; astrocytes; autophagy; lysosome; mitochondria; mitophagy; optic nerve; βA3/A1-crystallin