Different responses of macrophages in retinal ganglion cell survival after acute ocular hypertension in rats with different autoimmune backgrounds.Exp Eye Res. 2007 Nov; 85(5):659-66.EE
Recently macrophages were shown to play a protective role in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) after optic nerve (ON) injury. In the present study, we investigated how macrophages responded after acute intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)-resistant Fischer 344 (F344) and Sprague Dawley (SD) rats and EAE-vulnerable Lewis rats. Acute IOP elevation was performed at 110mmHg for 2h to mimic acute glaucoma. Phagocytic cells in the eye were removed by intravitreal application of clodronate liposomes whereas macrophage activation was achieved by intravitreal injection of zymosan, a yeast wall preparation. Fluorescence dye, FluoroGold, was applied behind the eyeballs to retrogradely label surviving RGCs 40h before animal sacrifice. Macrophages in the retina were identified by ED1 immunostaining. Loss of 25% RGCs in F344 but over 90% in Lewis rats was seen 2 weeks after acute IOP elevation. Significant increase in the number of macrophages in the retina was seen to accompany the great RGC loss in Lewis rats; removal of these macrophages reduced the extent of RGC loss, suggesting the involvement of macrophages in RGC death in Lewis strain. Low numbers of macrophages were seen in F344 retinas after acute IOP elevation, and removal of macrophages did not show clear effect on RGC viability. Whereas macrophage activation by zymosan protected RGCs after ON axotomy in F344 rats, the same macrophage activation became detrimental to RGCs after acute IOP elevation. The extent of RGC loss 3 weeks after acute IOP elevation or after macrophage activation by zymosan in EAE-resistant SD rats was similar to that in F344 rats. We thus demonstrate that macrophages in rats with different autoimmune backgrounds react differently to acute IOP elevation and differentially modulate RGC loss, a phenomenon contrary to the protective action in RGCs after ON axotomy. These data suggest that autoimmune background plays a role in modulating vulnerability of RGCs to acute IOP elevation.