Expression profiling of ascorbic acid-related transporters in human and mouse eyes

Nan Ma, Carla Siegfried, Miyuki Kubota, Jie Huang, Ying Liu, Margaret Liu, Belinda Dana, Andrew Huang, David Beebe, Hong Yan, Ying Bo Shui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Ascorbic acid (AsA) is an important antioxidant in the eye. Ascorbic acid is usually transported by sodium-dependent AsA transporters (SVCTs), and dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) by glucose transporters (GLUTs). This study investigates these AsA-related transporters in human compared with mouse eyes. METHODS. Five pairs of human donor eyes and 15 pairs of mouse eyes were collected. Immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization were performed to detect SVCTs and GLUTs expression in the ciliary epithelium, retina, and lens epithelial cells (LECs). These tissues were isolated with laser microdissection followed by extraction of total RNA. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was performed to examine the mRNA level of SVCTs and GLUTs in human and mouse ocular tissues. RESULTS. Immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization showed SVCT2 and GLUT1 expression in human ciliary epithelium with varied distributions. Sodium-dependent AsA transporter 2 is expressed only in the pigmented epithelium (PE), and GLUT1 is predominately expressed in the nonpigmented epithelium (NPE). However, SVCT2 was not identified in mouse ciliary epithelium, whereas GLUT1 expressed in both PE and NPE. Laser microdissection and qPCR revealed high levels of SVCT2 mRNA in human RPE cells and murine neural retina. Sodiumdependent AsA transporter 1 mRNA could be detected only in human and murine LECs. Glucose transporter 3 and GLUT4 mRNA could not be detected in either the human or mouse ciliary processes or in the lens epithelium. CONCLUSIONS. These fundamental findings indicate AsA transporter expression in eyes of humans is significantly different compared with mice. This may explain why human aqueous and vitreous humors contain higher AsA levels compared with other animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3440-3450
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Ascorbic acid
  • GLUT1
  • SVCT2
  • Transporters


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