Gene expression changes in retinal Müller (Glial) cells exposed to elevated pressure

Wei Xue, Pan Du, Simon Lin, V. Joseph Dudley, M. Rosario Hernandez, Vijay P. Sarthy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Retinal Müller (glial) cells undergo "reactive gliosis", a stress response that is accompanied by changes in their morphology and upregulation of various cellular markers. Reactive gliosis is seen in many retinal diseases and conditions; however, it is not known whether it is a common, stereotypic response or the nature of the response varies with the type of retinal stress. To address this question, we have examined gene expression changes in Müller cells exposed to elevated pressure. Materials and Methods: Rat Müller cells (rMC-1) were exposed to elevated pressure, and RNA was extracted and analyzed using Affymetrix GeneChip microarrays to identify pressure-responsive genes. Results: Analysis of microarray data showed that at 6 h, 186 genes had > 1.5-fold change with FDR < 0.01. Of these, 62 genes were up-regulated while 124 genes were down-regulated. At 24 h, 73 genes changed > 1.5-fold. Of these, 37 genes were up-regulated while 36 genes were down-regulated. Ingenuity canonical pathway analysis showed that several signaling and metabolic pathways were significantly changed in Müller cells under high pressure. In addition, among up- and down-regulated genes, we identified eight genes-areg, bmp4, cyp1b1, gpnmb, herc2, msh2, heph, and selenbp1, that have been directly or indirectly associated with elevated intraocular pressure. Two genes, areg and gpnmb, further showed time-dependent changes in mRNA and protein expression. Conclusion: The results show that Müller cells in vitro respond to elevated pressure by differential regulation of expressed genes. The transcriptional profile is different from that seen with hypoxia, which indicates that Müller cells respond differentially to different microenvironmental changes in the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-767
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent eye research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Elevated pressure
  • Glia
  • Gliosis
  • Microarray
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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