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Herein, we have investigated retinal cell-death pathways in response to the retina toxin sodium iodate (NaIO3) both in vivo and in vitro. C57/BL6 mice were treated with a single intravenous injection of NaIO3 (35 mg/kg). Morphological changes in the retina post NaIO3 injection in comparison to untreated controls were assessed using electron microscopy. Cell death was determined by TdT-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. The activation of caspases and calpain was measured using immunohistochemistry. Additionally, cytotoxicity and apoptosis in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, primary retinal cells, and the cone photoreceptor (PRC) cell line 661W were assessed in vitro after NaIO3 treatment using the ApoToxGlo™ assay. The 7-AAD/Annexin-V staining was performed and necrostatin (Nec-1) was administered to the NaIO3-treated cells to confirm the results. In vivo, degenerating RPE cells displayed a rounded shape and retracted microvilli, whereas PRCs featured apoptotic nuclei. Caspase and calpain activity was significantly upregulated in retinal sections and protein samples from NaIO3-treated animals. In vitro, NaIO3 induced necrosis in RPE cells and apoptosis in PRCs. Furthermore, Nec-1 significantly decreased NaIO3-induced RPE cell death, but had no rescue effect on treated PRCs. In summary, several different cell-death pathways are activated in retinal cells as a result of NaIO3.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Mol Sci

Publication Date





15086 - 15103


apoptosis, cell death, in vitro, in vivo, necrosis, photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, sodium iodate, Animals, Apoptosis, Caspases, Iodates, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Necrosis, Retinal Degeneration, Retinal Pigment Epithelium