Alterations of retinal vasculature in cystathionine-Beta-synthase mutant mice, a model of hyperhomocysteinemia.
PURPOSE: Mice with moderate/severe hyperhomocysteinemia due to deficiency or absence of the cbs gene encoding cystathionine-beta-synthase (CBS) have marked retinal disruption, ganglion cell loss, optic nerve mitochondrial dysfunction, and ERG defects; those with mild hyperhomocysteinemia have delayed retinal morphological/functional phenotype. Excess homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases; however, it is not known whether excess homocysteine alters retinal vasculature. METHODS: Cbs(+/+), cbs(+/-), and cbs(-/-) mice (age ∼3 weeks) were subjected to angiography; retinas were harvested for cryosections, flat-mount preparations, or trypsin digestion and subjected to immunofluorescence microscopy to visualize vessels using isolectin-B4, to detect angiogenesis using anti-VEGF and anti-endoglin (anti-CD105) and activated glial cells (anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein [anti-GFAP]) and to investigate the blood-retinal barrier using the tight junction markers zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin. Expression of vegf was determined by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunoblotting. Human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) were treated with excess homocysteine to analyze permeability. RESULTS: Angiography revealed vascular leakage in cbs(-/-) mice; immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated vascular patterns consistent with ischemia; isolectin-B4 labeling revealed a capillary-free zone centrally and new vessels with capillary tufts midperipherally. This was associated with increased vegf mRNA and protein, CD105, and GFAP in cbs(-/-) retinas concomitant with a marked decrease in ZO-1 and occludin. Homocysteine-treated HRECs showed increased permeability. CONCLUSIONS: Severe elevation of homocysteine in cbs(-/-) mutant mice is accompanied by alterations in retinal vasculature (ischemia, neovascularization, and incompetent blood-retinal barrier). The marked disruption of retinal structure and decreased visual function reported in cbs(-/-) mice may reflect vasculopathy as well as neuropathy.
Tawfik, A; Al-Shabrawey, M; Roon, P; Sonne, S; Covar, JA; Matragoon, S; Ganapathy, PS; Atherton, SS; El-Remessy, A; Ganapathy, V; Smith, SB
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)