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Neuronal Expression of Junctional Adhesion Molecule-C is Essential for Retinal Thickness and Photoreceptor Survival

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 7 ]

Author(s):

Y. Li, F. Zhang, W. Lu* and X. Li*   Pages 497 - 508 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Background: Photoreceptor cell death is a key pathology of retinal degeneration diseases. To date, the molecular mechanisms for this pathological process remain largely unclear. Junctional adhesion molecule-c (Jam-c) has been shown to play important roles in different biological events. However, its effect on retinal neuronal cells is unknown.

Objective: To determine the effect of Jam-c on adult mouse eyes, particularly, on retinal structure, vasculature and photoreceptor cells, in order to explore potential important target molecules for ocular diseases.

Methods: Jam-c global knockout mice, endothelial-specific and neuronal-specific Jam-c conditional knockout mice using Tie2-Cre and Nestin-Cre mice respectively were used in this study. Mouse eyes were harvested from the different groups and eye size examined. Cryosections of the eyes were made and stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) and the thicknesses of retinal layers measured. Retinal blood vessels and cone and rod photoreceptors were analyzed using isolectin B4, peanut agglutinin and rhodopsin as markers respectively. In vivo Jam-c knockdown in mouse eyes was performed by intravitreal injection of Jam-c shRNA. Jam-c expression in the retinae was quantified by real-time PCR.

Results: Global Jam-c gene deletion in mice resulted in smaller eyes and decreased the diameters of lens and iris. Jam-c-/- mice display marked thinning of the outer nuclear layer (ONL), less numbers of photoreceptor cells, and abnormal retinal vasculature. Importantly, neuronal-specific Jam-c deletion led to similar phenotype, whereas no obvious defect was observed in endothelial-specific Jam-c knockout mice. Moreover, Jam-c knockdown by shRNA also decreased ONL thickness and photoreceptor numbers.

Conclusion: We found that Jam-c is critically required for the normal size and retinal structure. Particularly, Jam-c plays important roles in maintaining the normal retinal thickness, vasculature and photoreceptor numbers. Jam-c thus may therefore have important roles in various ocular diseases.

Keywords:

Junctional adhesion molecule-c, retina, photoreceptor degeneration, vasculature, neuroprotection.

Affiliation:

The State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510060, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20824, The State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510060, The State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510060



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