Structural and functional protection of photoreceptors from MNU-induced retinal degeneration by the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis

Dino Petrin, Adam Baker, Stuart G. Coupland, Peter Liston, Monica Narang, Karim Damji, Brian Leonard, Vince A. Chiodo, Adrian Timmers, William Hauswirth, Robert G. Korneluk, Catherine Tsilfidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. To evaluate the neuroprotective effects of adenoassociated virus delivery of XIAP in N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced retinal degeneration in Sprague-Dawley rats. METHODS. Sprague-Dawley rats were injected subretinally with recombinant adenoassociated virus (rAAV) encoding either XIAP or green fluorescent protein (GFP; injection control). Six weeks after injection, the animals received an intraperitoneal injection of MNU, a DNA methylating agent, at a dose of 60 mg/kg. Electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded at 0, 24, 48 and 72 hours and 1 week after MNU. The rats were killed after the ERG was performed and were perfused with 4% paraformaldehyde. Eyes were then enucleated and embedded for cryosectioning. Eye sections were analyzed by TUNEL and histologic techniques. Real-time PCR and Western analysis were performed to confirm the overexpression of XIAP in injected eyes. RESULTS. Real-time PCR and Western analysis confirmed the overexpression of XIAP in virus-injected eyes in comparison to uninjected control eyes. At 24 hours after MNU injection, fewer cells had undergone apoptosis in the XIAP-treated eyes in comparison with GFP-injected or uninjected eyes. Hematoxylin and eosin staining revealed that the uninjected and GFP-injected photoreceptors were destroyed by 72 hours after injection of MNU, whereas the AAV-XIAP-injected eyes showed structural protection of the photoreceptors at all time points throughout the 1-week sampling period. ERGs showed functional protection up to 1 week after MNU injection in the AAV-XIAP-injected eye, whereas no response was observed in the control eye. CONCLUSIONS. The results suggest that XIAP is protective against this potent chemotoxic agent and holds promise as a therapeutic agent in gene therapy approaches to treating retinitis pigmentosa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2757-2763
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


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