Apoptosis is considered to be the final common pathway of photoreceptor cell death in different inherited retinal diseases. However, apoptosis encompasses diverse pathways of molecular interactions culminating in cellular demise. To begin dissecting these interactions, we have investigated key participants in the rd (retinal degeneration) model of retinal neurodegeneration. By Western blot analysis and immunocytochemistry, we found that cytochrome c release occurs in rd retinas concurrently with the activation of the proapoptotic protein Bid. Active forms of caspase-8 and the mitogen-activated protein kinase p38, both of which are capable of cleaving Bid, were detected in rd retinas at the peak time of photoreceptor death. In addition, the activated form of the cell death effector caspase-3 was detectable particularly at the photoreceptors in parallel with this peak degenerative phase. These data suggest that activation of both major apoptotic pathways occurs during photoreceptor degeneration in the rd mouse model of inherited blindness.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2001
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