Translocator protein (18 kDa) (Tspo) in the retina and implications for ocular diseases

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2024 Feb 29:101249. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2024.101249. Online ahead of print.


Translocator protein (18 kDa) (Tspo), formerly known as peripheral benzodiazepine receptor is a highly conserved transmembrane protein primarily located in the outer mitochondrial membrane. In the central nervous system (CNS), especially in glia cells, Tspo is upregulated upon inflammation. Consequently, Tspo was used as a tool for diagnostic in vivo imaging of neuroinflammation in the brain and as a potential therapeutic target. Several synthetic Tspo ligands have been explored as immunomodulatory and neuroprotective therapy approaches. Although the function of Tspo and how its ligands exert these beneficial effects is not fully clear, it became a research topic of interest, especially in ocular diseases in the past few years. This review summarizes state-of-the-art knowledge of Tspo expression and its proposed functions in different cells of the retina including microglia, retinal pigment epithelium and Müller cells. Tspo is involved in cytokine signaling, oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species production, calcium signaling, neurosteroid synthesis, energy metabolism, and cholesterol efflux. We also highlight recent developments in preclinical models targeting Tspo and summarize the relevance of Tspo biology for ocular and retinal diseases. We conclude that glial upregulation of Tspo in different ocular pathologies and the use of Tspo ligands as promising therapeutic approaches in preclinical studies underline the importance of Tspo as a potential disease-modifying protein.

PMID:38430990 | DOI:10.1016/j.preteyeres.2024.101249