Sestrin2 overexpression alleviates hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis and oxidative stress in retinal ganglion cells by enhancing Nrf2 activation via Keap1 downregulation.

Research paper by Yazhi Y Fan, Yao Y Xing, Lei L Xiong, Jianming J Wang

Indexed on: 11 Apr '20Published on: 11 Apr '20Published in: Chemico-Biological Interactions


Oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) contributes to the development and progression of glaucoma. Sestrin2 (Sesn2), a stress-inducible protein, has a potent antioxidant capacity that can provide cytoprotection against various noxious stimuli. However, whether Sesn2 is involved in protecting RGCs from oxidative stress remains unexplored. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of Sesn2 in regulating hydrogen peroxide (HO)-induced oxidative stress of RGCs. Here, we showed that Sesn2 expression was induced in RGCs following HO exposure. Sesn2 depletion markedly exacerbated HO-induced apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in RGCs. Notably, upregulation of Sesn2 significantly decreased HO-induced apoptosis and ROS generation. Moreover, Sesn2 overexpression increased the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (Nrf2), elevated Nrf2/antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated transcriptional activity and upregulated the expression of Nrf2 target genes in HO-stimulated RGCs. Interestingly, we found that Sesn2 promoted Nrf2/ARE activation through downregulation of kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1). Restoration of Keap1 or inhibition of Nrf2 significantly reversed the Sesn2-mediated protective effect in HO-stimulated RGCs. In conclusion, these results elucidated that Sesn2 confers a protective effect in RGCs against HO-induced oxidative stress by reinforcing Nrf2/ARE activation via downregulation of Keap1. Our study suggests that the Sesn2/Keap1/Nrf2 axis may play an important role in retinal degeneration in glaucoma. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.