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Article

Evaluating Ocular Response in the Retina and Optic Nerve Head after Single and Fractionated High-Energy Protons

Department of Basic Sciences, Division of Biomedical Engineering Sciences (BMES), Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
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Academic Editors: Giorgio Russo, Walter Tinganelli and Marco Calvaruso
Life 2021, 11(8), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11080849
Received: 29 June 2021 / Revised: 9 August 2021 / Accepted: 16 August 2021 / Published: 19 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Radiobiology)
There are serious concerns about possible late radiation damage to ocular tissue from prolonged space radiation exposure, and occupational and medical procedures. This study aimed to investigate the effects of whole-body high-energy proton exposure at a single dose on apoptosis, oxidative stress, and blood-retina barrier (BRB) integrity in the retina and optic nerve head (ONH) region and to compare these radiation-induced effects with those produced by fractionated dose. Six-month-old C57BL/6 male mice were either sham irradiated or received whole-body high energy proton irradiation at an acute single dose of 0.5 Gy or 12 equal dose fractions for a total dose of 0.5 Gy over twenty-five days. At four months following irradiation, mice were euthanized and ocular tissues were collected for histochemical analysis. Significant increases in the number of apoptotic cells were documented in the mouse retinas and ONHs that received proton radiation with a single or fractionated dose (p < 0.05). Immunochemical analysis revealed enhanced immunoreactivity for oxidative biomarker, 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) in the retina and ONH following single or fractionated protons with more pronounced changes observed with a single dose of 0.5 Gy. BRB integrity was also evaluated with biomarkers of aquaporin-4 (AQP-4), a water channel protein, a tight junction (TJ) protein, Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), and an adhesion molecule, the platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). A significantly increased expression of AQP-4 was observed in the retina following a single dose exposure compared to controls. There was also a significant increase in the expression of PECAM-1 and a decrease in the expression of ZO-1 in the retina. These changes give a strong indication of disturbance to BRB integrity in the retina. Interestingly, there was very limited immunoreactivity of AQP-4 and ZO-1 seen in the ONH region, pointing to possible lack of BRB properties as previously reported. Our data demonstrated that exposure to proton radiation of 0.5 Gy induced oxidative stress-associated apoptosis in the retina and ONH, and changes in BRB integrity in the retina. Our study also revealed the differences in BRB biomarker distribution between these two regions. In response to radiation insults, the cellular response in the retina and ONH may be differentially regulated in acute or hyperfractionated dose schedules. View Full-Text
Keywords: space radiation; protons; mouse retina; optic nerve head; blood-retinal barrier; fractionation dose; apoptosis; oxidative stress space radiation; protons; mouse retina; optic nerve head; blood-retinal barrier; fractionation dose; apoptosis; oxidative stress
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mao, X.-W.; Stanbouly, S.; Jones, T.; Nelson, G. Evaluating Ocular Response in the Retina and Optic Nerve Head after Single and Fractionated High-Energy Protons. Life 2021, 11, 849. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11080849

AMA Style

Mao X-W, Stanbouly S, Jones T, Nelson G. Evaluating Ocular Response in the Retina and Optic Nerve Head after Single and Fractionated High-Energy Protons. Life. 2021; 11(8):849. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11080849

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mao, Xiao-Wen, Seta Stanbouly, Tamako Jones, and Gregory Nelson. 2021. "Evaluating Ocular Response in the Retina and Optic Nerve Head after Single and Fractionated High-Energy Protons" Life 11, no. 8: 849. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11080849

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