MicroRNA-124 dysregulation is associated with retinal inflammation and photoreceptor death in the degenerating retina

Joshua A. Chu-Tan, Matt Rutar, Kartik Saxena, Riemke Aggio-Bruce, Rohan W. Essex, Krisztina Valter, Haihan Jiao, Nilisha Fernando, Yvette Wooff, Michele C. Madigan, Jan Provis, Riccardo Natoli

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45 Citations (Scopus)
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PURPOSE. We sought to determine the role and retinal cellular location of microRNA-124 (miR-124) in a neuroinflammatory model of retinal degeneration. Further, we explored the anti-inflammatory relationship of miR-124 with a predicted messenger RNA (mRNA) binding partner, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (Ccl2), which is crucially involved in inflammatory cell recruitment in the damaged retina. METHODS. Human AMD donor eyes and photo-oxidative damaged (PD) mice were labeled for miR-124 expression using in situ hybridization. PDGFRa-cre RFP mice were used for Müller cell isolation from whole retinas. MIO-M1 immortalized cells and rat primary Müller cells were used for in vitro analysis of miR-124 expression and its relationship with Ccl2. Therapeutic efficacy was tested with intravitreal administration of miR-124 mimic in mice, with electroretinography used to determine retinal function. IBA1 immunohistochemistry and photoreceptor row counts were used for assessment of inflammation and cell death. RESULTS. MiR-124 expression was correlated with progressive retinal damage, inflammation, and cell death in human AMD and PD mice. In addition, miR-124 expression was inversely correlated to Ccl2 expression in mice following PD. MiR-124 was localized to both neuronal-like photoreceptors and glial (Müller) cells in the retina, with a redistribution from neurons to glia occurring as a consequence of PD. Finally, intravitreal administration of miR-124 mimics decreased retinal inflammation and photoreceptor cell death, and improved retinal function. CONCLUSIONS. This study has provided an understanding of the mechanism behind miR-124 in the degenerating retina and demonstrates the usefulness of miR-124 mimics for the modulation of retinal degenerations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4094-4105
Number of pages12
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


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