Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) has been known as a neuroprotectant agent in several retinal injury models. However, a detailed mechanism of this effect is still not well understood. In this study, we examined the retinoprotective effects and associated underlying mechanisms of action of PACAP in the mouse N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA)-induced retinal injury model, focusing on the relationship between PACAP and retinal microglia/macrophage (MG/MΦ) status. Adult male C57BL/6 mice received an intravitreal injection of NMDA to induce retinal injury. Three days after NMDA injection, the number of MG/MΦ increased significantly in the retinas. The concomitant intravitreal injection of PACAP suppressed NMDA-induced cell loss in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) and significantly increased the number of MG/MΦ. These outcomes associated with PACAP were attenuated by cotreatment with PACAP6-38, while the beneficial effects of PACAP were not seen in interleukin-10 (IL-10) knockout mice. PACAP significantly elevated the messenger RNA levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as transforming growth factor beta 1 and IL-10 in the injured retina, with the immunoreactivities seen to overlap with markers of MG/MΦ. These results suggest that PACAP enhances the proliferation and/or infiltration of retinal MG/MΦ and modulates their status into an acquired deactivation subtype to favor conditions for neuroprotection.
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2013