Journal of neuroinflammation

Adenosine A2AR blockade prevents neuroinflammation-induced death of retinal ganglion cells caused by elevated pressure.

PMID 26054642


Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor for glaucoma, a degenerative disease characterized by the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). There is clinical and experimental evidence that neuroinflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Since the blockade of adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) confers robust neuroprotection and controls microglia reactivity in the brain, we now investigated the ability of A2AR blockade to control the reactivity of microglia and neuroinflammation as well as RGC loss in retinal organotypic cultures exposed to elevated hydrostatic pressure (EHP) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Retinal organotypic cultures were either incubated with LPS (3 μg/mL), to elicit a pro-inflammatory response, or exposed to EHP (+70 mmHg), to mimic increased IOP, for 4 or 24 h, in the presence or absence of the A2AR antagonist SCH 58261 (50 nM). A2AR expression, microglial reactivity and neuroinflammatory response were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, quantitative PCR (qPCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RGC loss was assessed by immunohistochemistry. In order to investigate the contribution of pro-inflammatory mediators to RGC loss, the organotypic retinal cultures were incubated with rabbit anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) (2 μg/mL) and goat anti-interleukin-1β (IL-1β) (1 μg/mL) antibodies. We report that the A2AR antagonist (SCH 58261) prevented microglia reactivity, increase in pro-inflammatory mediators as well as RGC loss upon exposure to either LPS or EHP. Additionally, neutralization of TNF and IL-1β prevented RGC loss induced by LPS or EHP. This work demonstrates that A2AR blockade confers neuroprotection to RGCs by controlling microglia-mediated retinal neuroinflammation and prompts the hypothesis that A2AR antagonists may be a novel therapeutic option to manage glaucomatous disorders.