1. Eye Center, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, Hubei Province, China
2. Department of Ophthalmology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan University,Wuhan 430071, Hubei Province, China
# These authors contribute equally to this work
Retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury (RIRI) is of common occurrence in retinal and optic nerve diseases. The BDNF/TrkB signaling pathway has been examined to be neuroprotective in RIRI. In this study, we investigated the role of a potent selective TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyfavone (DHF) in rat retinas with RIRI. Our results showed that RIRI inhibited the conversion of BDNF precursor (proBDNF) to mature BDNF (mBDNF) and increased the level of neuronal cell apoptosis. Compared with RIRI, DHF+RIRI reduced proBDNF level and at the same time increased mBDNF level. Moreover, DHF administration effectively activated TrkB signaling and and downstream Akt and Erk signaling pathways which increased nerve cell survival. The combined effects of mBDNF/proBDNF increase and TrkB signaling activation lead to reduction of apoptosis level and protection of retinas with RIRI. Moreover, it was also found that astrocytes labeled by GFAP were activated in RIRI and NF-kB mediated the increased expressions of inflammatory factors and these effects were partially reversed by DHF administration. Besides, we also used RNA sequencing to analyze the differently expressed genes (DEGs) and their enriched (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) KEGG pathways between Sham, RIRI, and DHF+RIRI. It was found that 1543 DEGs were differently expressed in RIRI and 619 DEGs were reversed in DHF+RIRI. The reversed DEGs were typically enriched in PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, Jak-STAT signaling pathway, NF-kB signaling pathway, and Apoptosis. To sum up, the DHF administration alleviated apoptosis and inflammation induced by RIRI via activating TrkB signaling pathway and may serve as a promising drug candidate for RIRI related ophthalmopathy.
Keywords: Retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury, 7,8-dihydroxyfavone, BDNF, TrkB, Apoptosis.