Role of unfolded protein response dysregulation in oxidative injury of retinal pigment epithelial cells

Chen Chen, Marisol Cano, Joshua J. Wang, Jingming Li, Chuangxin Huang, Qiang Yu, Terence P. Herbert, James T. Handa, Sarah X. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aims: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of legal blindness in the elderly, is associated with genetic and environmental risk factors, such as cigarette smoking. Recent evidence shows that cigarette smoke (CS) that contains high levels of potent oxidants preferably targets retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) leading to oxidative damage and apoptosis; however, the mechanisms are poorly understood. The present study aimed to investigate the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) in CS-related RPE apoptosis. Results: ER stress and proapoptotic gene C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) were induced in the RPE/choroid complex from mice exposed to CS for 2 weeks and in human RPE cells treated with hydroquinone, a potent oxidant found at high concentrations in CS. Suppressing ER stress or inhibiting CHOP activation by pharmacological chaperones or genetic approaches attenuated hydroquinone-induced RPE cell apoptosis. In contrast to enhanced CHOP activation, protein level of active X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1), a major regulator of the adaptive UPR, was reduced in hydroquinone-treated cells. Conditional knockout of XBP1 gene in the RPE resulted in caspase-12 activation, increased CHOP expression, and decreased antiapoptotic gene Bcl-2. Furthermore, XBP1-deficient RPE cells are more sensitive to oxidative damage induced by hydroquinone or NaIO3, a CS-unrelated chemical oxidant. Conversely, overexpressing XBP1 protected RPE cells and attenuated oxidative stress-induced RPE apoptosis. Innovation and Conclusion: These findings provide strong evidence suggesting an important role of ER stress and the UPR in CS-related oxidative injury of RPE cells. Thus, the modulation of the UPR signaling may provide a promising target for the treatment of AMD. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 2091-2106.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2091-2106
Number of pages16
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Volume20
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - May 10 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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