Lentiviral vector-mediated expression of C3 transferase attenuates retinal ischemia and reperfusion injury in rats

Junkai Tan, Guo Liu, Chunlin Lan, Iok Hou Pang, Xiaolin Luo, Shen Wu, Ning Fan, Jingxue Zhang, Ningli Wang, Xuyang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Our previous study showed that intravitreal delivery of self-complementary AAV2 (scAAV2)-mediated exoenzyme C3 transferase (C3) can attenuate retinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. The current study investigated the neuroprotective effects of lentivirus (LV)-mediated C3 transgene expression on rat retinal I/R injury. Main methods: The LV encoding C3 and green fluorescent protein (GFP) together (LV-C3-GFP) or GFP only (LV-GFP) was intravitreally injected to SPRAGUE-DAWLEY rats. On day 5 post-intravitreal injection, eyes were evaluated by slit-lamp examination. The GFP expression on retina was confirmed by in vivo and ex vivo assessments. RhoA GTPase expression in retina was examined by western blot. Retinal I/R injury was generated by transiently increasing intraocular pressure (110 mmHg, 90 min). Eyes were then enucleated, and retinas processed for morphological analysis and TdT-dUTP terminal nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay. Key findings: No obvious inflammatory reactions or surgical complications were observed after intravitreal injection of LV vectors. There was a significant decrease of total RhoA GTPase level in the retina treated with LV-C3-GFP. Compared to the blank control group, LV-C3-GFP and LV-GFP did not affect the retinal thickness, cell density in ganglion cell layer (GCL), or numbers of apoptotic cells in retinal flat-mounts. In the LV-GFP-treated retinas, I/R decreased the retinal thickness and GCL cell density and increased apoptotic retinal cell numbers. LV-C3-GFP significantly protected against all these degenerative effects of I/R. Significance: This study indicated that LV-mediated C3 transgene expression exhibits neuroprotective effects on the retinal I/R injury and holds potential as a novel neuroprotective approach targeting certain retinopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119269
JournalLife Sciences
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


  • Exoenzyme C3 transferase
  • Ischemia/reperfusion injury
  • Lentivirus
  • Neuroprotection
  • Rat
  • Retina


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