Purpose: To determine the role of TGF-β1 in the maintenance of retinal ganglion cell line (RGC-5) differentiation and integrity.
Methods: RGC-5 cells were differentiated in media conditioned by human non-pigmented ciliary epithelial cells (HNPE) for 4 days before treatment with TGF-β1 for 24 h. Cells were examined for morphological changes and harvested for western blot and real-time PCR analysis. For study of apoptosis, differentiated RGC-5 cells were grown in serum-free medium for 24 h in the presence or absence of TGF-β1 and collected for Annexin V/Propidium iodide FACs analysis. The role of MAPK pathways in TGF-β1-dependent signaling was determined by treatment with specific inhibitors of ERK, JNK and p38.
Results: Differentiation of RGC-5 cells in HNPE-conditioned media (CM) increased the neural cell markers, Brn-3c, NF-160, Thy1.2, Tau and PGP9.5. Treatment with TGF-β1 significantly increased the length of neurites extended by differentiated RGC-5s, concomitant with increased expression of NF-160 and PGP9.5, but not Brn-3c, Thy1.2 or Tau. TGF-β1 also decreased RGC-5 cell apoptosis in serum-free medium. p38 phosphorylation, but not smad2/3, JNK or ERK phosphorylation, was increased in TGF-β1 treated cells. Specific inhibition of p38 signaling reversed TGF-β1 induced neurite growth.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the induction of RGC-5 cell differentiation by HNPE-derived CM and illustrate a role for TGF-β1 in maintaining RGC-5 cell survival and promoting neurite outgrowth through p38 MAPK.
Copyright © 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.