The role of dyslipidemia in the development of retinal dysfunction remains poorly understood. Using an animal model of diet-induced obesity/pre-type 2 diabetes, we investigated molecular defects in the retina arising from consumption of a diet high in saturated fats and sugars (i.e., a Western diet). We found that feeding mice a Western diet increased the abundance of retinal sphingolipids, attenuated protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation, enhanced JNK activation, and increased retinal cell death. When we used palmitate or C6-ceramide (Cer) to assess sphingolipid-mediated signaling in cultured murine and human cells, we observed similar effects on Akt, JNK, and cell death. Furthermore, both Western diet and C6-Cer exposure enhanced expression of the stress-response protein regulated in development and DNA damage response 1 (REDD1) and loss of REDD1 increased C6-Cer-induced JNK activation and cell death. Exogenous REDD1 expression repressed JNK-mediated phosphorylation in cultured cells. We found that thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) expression was elevated in REDD1–deficient cell lines and C6-Cer promoted TXNIP expression in both wild-type and REDD1–deficient cells. Likewise, TXNIP knockdown attenuated JNK activation and caspase 3 cleavage after either C6-Cer exposure or REDD1 deletion. The results support a model wherein Cer-induced REDD1 expression attenuates TXNIP-dependent JNK activation and retinal cell death.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology