The Role of Bcl-x L in Mouse RPE Cell Survival

Sarah Medearis, Ian C. Han, Jessica K. Huang, Ping Yang, Glenn J. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose. Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell survival plays a critical role in normal physiology and in retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). We have previously demonstrated that Bcl-xL is an important cell survival protein in human RPE (hRPE) cells. Herein, we determined the role of Bcl-xL as a survival protein in mouse RPE (mRPE) cells. Methods. Survival factor gene expression and Bcl-xL protein distribution were determined using qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Cultured mRPE cells were transfected with two modified 2′-O-methoxyethoxy antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs): Bcl-xL-mismatched control and Bcl-xL-specific. Bcl-xL protein levels were analyzed using Western blot. To determine the effects of survival factor regulation in mRPE cells, cultured cells were treated for 24 hours with mouse TNF-α, human IL-1β, and human TNF-α. Results. Bcl-xL was the most highly expressed survival factor in both mouse eyecup and cultured mRPE cells, whereas Bax was the most highly expressed antisurvival factor. Bcl-xL was expressed in the RPE layer, and the distribution among the retinal layers was similar to that observed in human eyecups. IL-1β and TNF-α had minimal effect on Bcl-xL and Bax expression and strongly upregulated Traf-1. Transfection with Bcl-xL-specific ASO resulted in markedly diminished Bcl-xL gene expression, Bcl-xL protein levels, and cell number. Conclusions. Bcl-xL is the most highly expressed survival gene in mRPE cells and is essential for mRPE cell survival. Our data suggest that mouse tissue is an appropriate model for investigations of RPE survival factor genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6545-6551
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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