The Retinal TNAP

Subcell Biochem. 2015;76:107-23. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-7197-9_6.


Accumulating evidence from recent literature underline the important roles of tissue non specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) in diverse functions as well as diseases of the nervous system. Exploration of TNAP in well characterized neural circuits such as the retina, might significantly advance our understanding regarding neural TNAP's roles. This chapter reviews the scarce literature as well as our findings on retinal TNAP. We found that retinal TNAP activity was preserved and followed diverse patterns throughout vertebrate evolution. We have consistently observed TNAP activity (1) in retinal vessels, (2) in photoreceptors and (3) in the majority of the studied species in the outer (OPL) and inner plexiform layers (IPL), where synaptic transmission occurs. Importantly, in some species the IPL exhibits several TNAP positive strata. These strata exactly corresponded those seen after quadruple immunohistochemistry with four canonical IPL markers (tyrosine hydroxylase, choline acetyltransferase, calretinin, protein kinase C α). Diabetes results in diminishing retinal TNAP activity before changes in canonical markers could be observed in a rat model. The presence of TNAP activity at critical sites of neurotransmission suggests its important and evolutionary conserved role in vision. In diabetes, the decreased TNAP activity indicates neurological alterations adding further evidence for the role of TNAP in brain diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / genetics
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / genetics
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Retina / enzymology*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Vertebrates
  • Vision, Ocular / genetics


  • Alkaline Phosphatase