EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling is involved in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) apoptosis in experimental glaucoma. Here, we further investigated the mechanisms underlying EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling activation induced RGC apoptosis in a rat chronic ocular hypertension (COH) model, using patch-clamp techniques in retinal slices. In COH retinas, RGCs showed higher spontaneous firing frequency and much more depolarized membrane potential as compared to control, which was mimicked by intravitreally injection of EphB2-Fc, an activator of ephrinB2. The changes in RGC spontaneous firing and membrane potential could be reversed by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor PP2, suggesting that EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling activation induced RGC hyperexcitability. Intravitreal pre-injection of either LY367385 or MPEP, selective mGluR1 and mGluR5 antagonists, also blocked the changes in RGC spontaneous firing and membrane potential. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed an interaction between ephrinB2 and group I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR I) (mGluR1/mGluR5). Furthermore, intravitreal pre-injection of the mixture of L-NAME (an NO synthase inhibitor) and XPro1595 (a selective inhibitor of soluble TNF-α) could reduce the EphB2-Fc injection induced increase in RGC firing, suggesting that Müller cells might be involved in EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling activation induced change in RGC hyperexcitability. In addition, LY367385/MPEP reduced the numbers of TUNEL-positive RGCs both in EphB2-Fc injected and COH retinas. All results suggest that activation of EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling induces RGC hyperexcitability and apoptosis by interacting with mGluR I in COH rats. Appropriate reduction of EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling could alleviate the loss of RGCs in glaucoma.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Chronic ocular hypertension; EphB/ephrinB reverse signaling; Retinal ganglion cell; Spontaneous firing; mGluR I.
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