Downregulation of lysyl oxidase protects retinal endothelial cells from high glucose-induced apoptosis

Dongjoon Kim, Robert P. Mecham, Philip C. Trackman, Sayon Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To investigate the effect of reducing high glucose (HG)-induced lysyl oxidase (LOX) overexpression and increased activity on retinal endothelial cell apoptosis. METHODS. Rat retinal endothelial cells (RRECs) were grown in normal (N) or HG (30 mM glucose) medium for 7 days. In parallel, RRECs were grown in HG medium and transfected with LOX small interfering RNA (siRNA), scrambled siRNA as control, or exposed to β-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), a LOX inhibitor. LOX expression, AKT activation, and caspase-3 activity were determined by Western blot (WB) analysis and apoptosis by differential dye staining assay. Moreover, to determine whether diabetes-induced LOX overexpression alters AKT activation and promotes apoptosis, changes in LOX expression, AKT phosphorylation, caspase-3 activation, and Bax expression were assessed in retinas of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice and LOX heterozygous knockout (LOX+/-) mice. RESULTS. WB analysis indicated significant LOX overexpression and reduced AKT activation under HG condition in RRECs. Interestingly, when cells grown in HG were transfected with LOX siRNA or exposed to BAPN, the number of apoptotic cells was significantly decreased concomitant with increased AKT phosphorylation. Diabetic mouse retinas exhibited LOX overexpression, decreased AKT phosphorylation, and increased Bax and caspase-3 activation compared to values in nondiabetic mice. In LOX+/- mice, reduced LOX levels were observed with increased AKT activity, and reduced Bax and caspase-3 activity. Furthermore, decreased levels of LOX in the LOX+/- mice was protective against diabetes-induced apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS. Findings from this study indicate that preventing LOX overexpression may be protective against HG-induced apoptosis in retinal vascular cells associated with diabetic retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2725-2731
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • AKT
  • Apoptosis
  • High glucose
  • Lysyl oxidase
  • Retinal endothelial cells

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