Injury-independent induction of reactive gliosis in retina by loss of function of the LIM homeodomain transcription factor Lhx2

Jimmy De Melo, Katsuaki Miki, Amir Rattner, Phil Smallwood, Cristina Zibetti, Karla Hirokawa, Edwin S. Monuki, Peter A. Campochiaro, Seth Blackshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Müller glia are the primary glial subtype in the retina and perform a wide range of physiological tasks in support of retinal function, but little is known about the transcriptional network that maintains these cells in their differentiated state. We report that selective deletion of the LIM homeodomain transcription factor Lhx2 from mature Müller glia leads to the induction of reactive retinal gliosis in the absence of injury. Furthermore, Lhx2 expression is also down-regulated in Prph2 Rd2/Rd2 animals immediately before the onset of reactive gliosis. Analysis of conditional Lhx2 knockouts showed that gliosis was hypertrophic but not proliferative. Aging of experimental animals demonstrated that constitutive reactive gliosis induced by deletion of Lhx2 reduced rates of ongoing apoptosis and compromised both rod and cone photoreceptor function. Additionally, these animals showed a dramatically reduced ability to induce expression of secreted neuroprotective factors and displayed enhanced rates of apoptosis in light-damage assays. We provide in vivo evidence that Lhx2 actively maintains mature Müller glia in a nonreactive state,with loss of function initiating a specificprogram of nonproliferative hypertrophic gliosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4657-4662
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 20 2012


  • Development
  • Neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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