PURPOSE. Sigma 1 receptor (S1R) is expressed in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and astrocytes, and its activation is neuroprotective. We evaluated the contribution of S1R within optic nerve head astrocytes (ONHAs) to growth and survival of RGCs in vitro. METHODS. Wild-type (WT) RGCs and WT or S1R knockout (S1R KO) ONHAs were cocultured for 2, 4, or 7 days. Total and maximal neurite length, neurite root, and extremity counts were measured. Cell death was measured using a TUNEL assay. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation levels were evaluated in ONHA-derived lysates by immunoblotting. RESULTS. The coculture of WT RGCs with WT or S1R KO ONHAs increased the total and maximal neurite length. Neurite root and extremity counts increased at 4 and 7 days when WT RGCs were cocultured with WT or S1R KO ONHAs. At all timepoints, the total and maximal neurite length decreased for WT RGCs in coculture with S1R KO ONHAs compared with WT ONHAs. Root and extremity counts decreased for WT RGCs in coculture with S1R KO ONHAs compared with WT ONHAs at 2 and 7, but not 4 days. RGC apoptosis increased in S1R KO ONHA coculture and S1R KO-conditioned medium, compared with WT ONHA coculture or WT-conditioned medium. S1R KO ONHA-derived lysates showed decreased phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 levels compared with WT ONHA-derived lysates. CONCLUSIONS. The absence of S1R within ONHAs has a deleterious effect on RGC neurite growth and RGC survival, reflected in analysis of WT RGC + S1R KO ONHA indirect cocultures. The data suggest that S1R may enhance ganglion cell survival via glia-mediated mechanisms.
- Optic nerve head astrocyte
- Retinal ganglion cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience