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Neuroprotective effect of 5-androst-3,5,6-triol on retinal ganglion cells in a rat chronic ocular hypertension model

Chen, YQ;Zhong, SM;Liu, ST;Gao, F;Li, F;Zhao, Y;Sun, XH;Miao, Y;Wang, Z;

Previous studies have demonstrated that 5-androst-3,5,6-triol (Triol), a synthesized steroid compound, showed notable neuroprotective effect in cultured cortical neurons. In the present study, we explored whether and how Triol have neuroprotective effect on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in a chronic ocular hypertension (COH) rat model. COH model was produced by injecting superparamagnetic iron oxide micro-beads into the anterior chamber, and Triol was administrated (4.8g/100g, i.p., once daily for 4 weeks). Immunohistochemistry experiments showed that in whole flat-mounted COH retinas, the number of CTB-labeled survival RGCs was progressively reduced, while TUNEL-positive signals were significantly increased from 1 to 4 weeks after the micro-bead injection. Triol administration significantly attenuated the reduction in the number of CTB-labeled RGCs, and partially reduced the increased number of TUNEL-positive signals in COH retinas. Furthermore, Triol administration partially reduced the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and significantly rescued the activities of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex (MRCC) I/II/III in COH retinas. Our results suggest that Triol prevents RGCs from apoptotic death in COH retinas by reducing the lipid peroxidation and enhancing the activities of MRCCs.