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Effects of unoprostone on phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase expression in endothelin-1-induced retinal and optic nerve damage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2008

Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan
Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan
Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan
Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan
Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan
Department of Life Sciences, Toyo University, Itakura, Ouragun, Gunma, Japan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan
Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Yasushi Kitaoka, Department of Ophthalmology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-8511, Japan. E-mail:


Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictor peptide, has been implicated in the development of normal- and high-tension glaucoma. We investigated the effects of unoprostone on extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in ET-1-induced retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death and optic nerve injury. Our morphometric study showed that intravitreal injection of ET-1 led to cell loss in the RGC layer (RGCL) in 28 days. Western blot analysis showed decreased neurofilament (NF) protein in the optic nerve 28 days after ET-1 injection. In this in vivo model, increased phosphorylated ERK (p-ERK) was observed in the retina on 1 day and subsequently in the optic nerve from 7 days after ET-1 injection. Simultaneous injection of M1, as a metabolite of unoprostone, showed further increased p-ERK levels compared with ET-1 injection alone. Our morphometric study of flat-mount preparations stained with cresyl violet or retrograde labeling with a neuro-tracer and Western blot analysis of NF showed that inhibition of ERK phosphorylation led to acceleration of ET-1-induced RGC death and optic nerve damage. In addition, M1 significantly attenuated both RGC loss and the decrease in NF protein induced by ET-1. The protective effects of M1 were significantly inhibited by U0126, an ERK inhibitor. These results suggest that unoprostone has neuroprotective effects against ET-1-induced neuronal injury through ERK phosphorylation.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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