Role of C/EBP homologous protein in retinal ganglion cell death after ischemia/reperfusion injury

Sonali Nashine, Yang Liu, Byung Jin Kim, Abbot F. Clark, Iok Hou Pang

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38 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the role of C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), a proapoptotic protein, and the unfolded protein response (UPR) marker that is involved in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated apoptosis in mouse retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death following ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury.

Results: In WT mice, retinal CHOP was upregulated by 30% in I/R-injured eyes compared to uninjured eyes 3 days after injury (P < 0.05). Immunohistochemistry confirmed CHOP upregulation specifically in RGCs. CHOP knockout did not affect baseline RGC density or STR amplitude. Ischemia/reperfusion injury decreased RGC densities and STR amplitudes in both WT and Chop−/− mice. However, survival of RGCs in I/R-injured Chop−/− mouse was 48% higher (P < 0.05) than that in I/R-injured WT mouse 3 days after I/R injury. Similarly, RGC density was significantly higher in Chop−/− eyes at 7, 14, and 28 days after I/R injury. Scotopic threshold response amplitudes of Chop−/− mice were significantly higher at 3 and 7 days after I/R than those of WT mice.

Methods: Retinal I/R injury was induced in adult C57BL/6J wild-type (WT) and CHOP knockout (Chop−/−) mice by raising IOP to 120 mm Hg for 60 minutes. Expression of CHOP and other UPR markers was studied by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Retinal ganglion cell counts were performed in retinal flat mounts stained with an RGC marker. Retinal ganglion cell function was evaluated by scotopic threshold response (STR) electroretinography.

Conclusions: Absence of CHOP partially protects against RGC loss and reduction in retinal function after I/R injury, indicating that CHOP and, thus, ER stress play an important role in RGC apoptosis in retinal I/R injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2015


  • Apoptosis
  • CHOP
  • Retinal ganglion cell
  • Retinal ischemia


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