Aldosterone: A Mediator of Retinal Ganglion Cell Death and the Potential Role in the Pathogenesis in Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Cell Death Dis. 2013 Jul 4;4(7):e711. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.240.

Abstract

Glaucoma is conventionally defined as a chronic optic neuropathy characterized by progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and optic nerve fibers. Although glaucoma is often associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), significant IOP reduction does not prevent progression of the disease in some glaucoma patients. Thus, exploring IOP-independent mechanisms of RGC loss is important. We describe chronic systemic administration of aldosterone and evaluate its effect on RGCs in rat. Aldosterone was administered via an osmotic minipump that was implanted subcutaneously into the mid-scapular region. Although systemic administration of aldosterone caused RGC loss associated with thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer without elevated IOP, the other cell layers appeared to be unaffected. After chronic administration of aldosterone, RGC loss was observed at 2 weeks in the peripheral retina and at 4 weeks in the central retina. However, administration of mineralocorticoid receptor blocker prevented RGC loss. These results demonstrate aldosterone is a critical mediator of RGC loss that is independent of IOP. We believe this rat normal-tension glaucoma (NTG) animal model not only offers a powerful system for investigating the mechanism of neurodegeneration in NTG, but can also be used to develop therapies directed at IOP-independent mechanisms of RGC loss.

MeSH terms

  • Aldosterone / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Glaucoma / metabolism*
  • Glaucoma / pathology
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Nerve Degeneration / metabolism
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / physiopathology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Spironolactone / pharmacology

Substances

  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Spironolactone
  • Aldosterone