Activation of caspase-3 in axotomized rat retinal ganglion cells in vivo

FEBS Lett. 1999 Jun 25;453(3):361-4. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(99)00747-4.


Recently, we have shown that inhibition of caspase-3-like caspases is the most effective treatment strategy to protect adult rat retinal ganglion cells from secondary death following optic nerve transection. In the present study, we localized active caspase-3 in axotomized retinal ganglion cells in vivo and demonstrated a co-localization of the active p20 fragment and TUNEL-staining in some of these cells. In line with this, we detected an enhanced cleavage and activity of caspase-3 protein in retinal tissue after lesion, while caspase-3 mRNA expression remained unchanged. These data suggest caspase-3 as an important mediator of secondary retinal ganglion cell death following axotomy in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axotomy
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Casp3 protein, rat
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases