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Open Access Involvement of Calpain Isoforms in Retinal Degeneration in WBN/Kob Rats

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Results of our recent studies in rats suggested that calpains play an important role in retinal cell death induced by ischemia-reperfusion in vivo and by hypoxia in vitro. Study of spontaneous animal models could help determine the involvement of calpains in human retinopathy. The WBN/Kob rat is such a model for spontaneous retinal degeneration. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine the involvement of calpain isoforms during retinal degeneration in WBN/Kob rats. Histologic and functional retinal degeneration in WBN/Kob rats was observed by use of light microscopy and electroretinography, respectively. Proteolysis of α-spectrin in the retina was detected by use of immunoblot analysis in aging WBN/Kob rats. This proteolysis was associated with the increases of retinal calcium content and caseinolytic activity for calpains 1 and 2. Expression of calpain 1, calpain 2, and calpastatin mRNAs in the retina, as measured by use of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis, were only slightly up-regulated at 24 weeks of age. In contrast, expression of retina-specific calpains, such as Rt88, Rt88', and Rt90 mRNA, was markedly down-regulated at 12 weeks of age. Expression of calpain 10 mRNA in the retina was only slightly down-regulated at 12 weeks of age. In contrast to mRNA expression, various expression patterns of calpain 10 proteins were observed. Increased retinal calcium content, leading to activation of calpains 1 and 2, may be an important event in the sequential changes leading to degeneration of the retina in WBN/Kob rats. Activated calpain causing proteolysis of α-spectrin and changes in Rt88, Rt88', Rt90 and calpain 10 may also contribute to retinal degeneration.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Laboratories, Senju Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., 1-5-4, Murotani, Nishiku, Kobe, Hyogo, 651-2241 Japan 2: Departments of Integrative Biosciences and Ophthalmology, Oregon Health & Science University, 611 SW Campus Dr., Portland, Oregon 97239

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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