Endoplasmic reticulum stress is activated in light-induced retinal degeneration

Li Ping Yang, Le Meng Wu, Xiu Juan Guo, Ying Li, Mark O.M. Tso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Exposure to excessive levels of light induces photoreceptor apoptosis and has previously been used as a model for the study of retinal degeneration. During the light exposure, intracellular calcium levels increase, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated, which have been shown to cause endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. In the present study, we investigated the role of ER stress in light-induced photoreceptor apoptosis. Our study demonstrated that, after light exposure, the ER stress sensors including glucose-regulated protein-78 (GRP78/BiP), caspase-12, phospho-eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (elF2α), and phospho-pancreatic ER kinase (PERK) were significantly up-regulated in a time-dependent manner. The up-regulation of these proteins coincided with or preceded the photoreceptor apoptosis indicated by TUNEL. These data showed that ER stress played an important role in light-induced photoreceptor apoptosis. Therefore, ER stress modulators could be strong candidates as therapeutic agents in the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-919
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neuroscience research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase-12
  • ElF2α
  • GRP78/BiP
  • PERK
  • Unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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