Investigative ophthalmology & visual science

Potential Neuroprotective Effects of an LSD1 Inhibitor in Retinal Ganglion Cells via p38 MAPK Activity.

PMID 27893888


The epigenetic mechanisms associated with ocular neurodegenerative diseases remain unclear. The present study aimed to determine the role of lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), which represses transcription by removing the methyl group from methylated lysine 4 of histone H3, in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival, and to investigate the details of the neuroprotective mechanism of tranylcypromine, a major LSD1 inhibitor. The authors evaluated whether tranylcypromine contributes to neuronal survival following stress-induced damage using primary cultured rat RGCs and in vivo N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced excitotoxicity. Additionally, the molecules associated with tranylcypromine treatment were assessed by microarray and immunoblot analysis. Tranylcypromine significantly suppressed neuronal cell death following glutamate neurotoxicity and oxidative stress. Microarray and immunoblot analyses revealed that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)γ was a key molecule involved in the neuroprotective mechanisms induced by tranylcypromine because the significant suppression of p38 MAPKγ by glutamate was reversed by tranylcypromine. Moreover, although pharmacologic inhibition of the phosphorylation of the total p38 MAPKs interfered with neuroprotective effects of tranylcypromine, the specific inhibition of p38 MAPKα and p38 MAPKβ did not influence RGC survival. This suggests that the non-p38 MAPKα/β isoforms have important roles in neuronal survival by tranylcypromine. Additionally, the intravitreal administration of tranylcypromine significantly saved RGC numbers in an in vivo glaucoma model employing NMDA-induced excitotoxicity. These findings indicate that tranylcypromine-induced transcriptional and epigenetic regulation modulated RGC survival via the promotion of p38 MAPKγ activity. Therefore, pharmacologic treatments that suppress LSD1 activity may be a novel therapeutic strategy that can be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases.