Reduced retinal degeneration in an oxidative stress organ culture model through an iNOS-inhibitor
In retinal organ cultures, H2O2 can be used to simulate oxidative stress, which plays a role in the development of several retinal diseases including glaucoma. We investigated whether processes underlying oxidative stress can be prevented in retinal organ cultures by an inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-inhibitor. To this end, porcine retinal explants were cultivated for four and eight days. Oxidative stress was induced via 300 µM H2O2 on day one for three hours. Treatment with the iNOS-inhibitor 1400 W was applied simultaneously, remaining for 72 h. Retinal ganglion cells (RGC), bipolar and amacrine cells, apoptosis, autophagy, and hypoxia were evaluated immunohistologically and by RT-qPCR. Additionally, RGC morphology was analyzed via transmission electron microscopy. H2O2-induced RGCs loss after four days was prevented by the iNOS-inhibitor. Additionally, electron microscopy revealed a preservation from oxidative stress in iNOS-inhibitor treated retinas at four and eight days. A late rescue of bipolar cells was seen in iNOS-inhibitor treated retinas after eight days. Hypoxic stress and apoptosis almost reached the control situation after iNOS-inhibitor treatment, especially after four days. In sum, the iNOS-inhibitor was able to prevent strong H2O-induced degeneration in porcine retinas. Hence, this inhibitor seems to be a promising treatment option for retinal diseases.