Single-Cell Transcriptomic Sequencing Reveals Tissue Architecture and Deciphers Pathological Reprogramming During Retinal Ischemia in Macaca fascicularis

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2024 Jan 2;65(1):27. doi: 10.1167/iovs.65.1.27.


PURPOSE: Acute retinal arterial ischemia diseases (ARAIDs) are ocular emergencies that require immediate intervention within a restricted therapeutic window to prevent blindness. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms contributing to the pathogenesis of ARAIDs remain enigmatic. Herein, we present the single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) alterations during ischemia in the primate retina as a preliminary endeavor in understanding the molecular complexities of ARAIDs.

METHODS: An ophthalmic artery occlusion model was established through ophthalmic artery ligation in two Macaca fascicularis. scRNA-seq and bioinformatics analyses were used to detect retinal changes during ischemia, which are further validated by immunofluorescence analysis. Western blot and flow cytometry assays were performed to measure the microglia polarization status.

RESULTS: The findings of this study reveal notable changes in the retina under acute ischemic conditions. Particularly, retinal ischemia compromised mitochondrial functions of rod photoreceptors, partly leading to the rapid loss of healthy rods. Furthermore, we observed a noteworthy transcriptional alteration in the activation of microglia induced by ischemia. The targeted correction of the proinflammatory cytokine CXCL8 effectively suppresses microglia M1 polarization in retinal ischemia, ultimately reducing the proinflammatory transformation in vitro. In addition, retina ischemia induced the apoptotic inclination of endothelial cells and the heightened interaction with microglia, which signifies the influence of microglia in disrupting the retinal-blood barrier.

CONCLUSIONS: Our research has successfully identified and described the pathologic alterations occurring in several cell types during a short period of ischemia. These observations provide valuable insights for ameliorating retinal damage and promoting the restoration of vision.

PMID:38214685 | DOI:10.1167/iovs.65.1.27