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

Research paper by Yasunari Y Munemasa, Yasushi Y Kitaoka, Yasuhiro Y Hayashi, Hiroyuki H Takeda, Hiromi H Fujino, Ritsuko R Ohtani-Kaneko, Kazuaki K Hirata, Satoki S Ueno

Indexed on: 30 Apr '08Published on: 30 Apr '08Published in: Visual neuroscience


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.