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Sortilin Inhibition Protects Neurons From Degeneration in the Diabetic Retina

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Purpose: To investigate the level and localization of the multifunctional receptor sortilin in the diabetic retina, as well as the effect of sortilin inhibition on retinal neurodegeneration in experimental diabetes. Methods: The localization of sortilin and colocalization with the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) and Müller cell (MC) markers were determined using immunofluorescence on retinal sections from human patients with diabetes and streptozotocin-induced diabetic C57BL/6J male mice. In the diabetic mice, levels were further quantified using Western blot and quantitative PCR. Therapeutic studies were performed on diabetic mice using intravitreally injected anti-sortilin antibodies. Neuroprotection was evaluated in vivo by optical coherence tomography and by quantification of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in flat mounts. Results: Increased levels of sortilin were observed in human and murine diabetic retinas compared with nondiabetic control retinas. Sortilin was highly localized to retinal MCs, and, notably, colocalization with p75NTR was only seen in diabetic retinas. A remarkable protective effect of sortilin inhibition on inner retinal cells was observed in diabetic mice. At eight weeks after diabetes induction, inner retinal thickness was reduced by 9.7% (-12.7%, -6.6%; P < 0.0001; n = 11-12) in the PBS-injected control group compared with the anti-sortilin injected group. Similarly, the count of RGCs was reduced by 20.5% (-30.8%, -10.2%; P = 0.0009) in the PBS-injected control group compared with the anti-sortilin-injected group. Conclusions: Sortilin is upregulated in the diabetic retina, and sortilin inhibition effectively protects against neuronal loss. Thus sortilin emerges as a novel pharmacological target in diabetic retinal neurodegeneration-an important early event in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy.

TidsskriftInvestigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2023

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