Sirt3 Protects Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells From High Glucose-Induced Injury by Promoting Mitophagy Through the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 Pathway

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2024 Mar 1;13(3):19. doi: 10.1167/tvst.13.3.19.


PURPOSE: The regulation of mitophagy by Sirt3 has rarely been studied in ocular diseases. In the present study, we determined the effects of Sirt3 on AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway-mediated mitophagy in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in a high glucose environment.

METHODS: The mRNA expression levels of Sirt3, AMPK, mTOR, ULK1, and LC3B in RPE cells under varying glucose conditions were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The expressions of Sirt3, mitophagy protein, and AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway-related proteins were detected by Western blotting. Lentivirus (LV) transfection mediated the stable overexpression of Sirt3 in cell lines. The experimental groups were NG (5.5 mM glucose), hypertonic, HG (30 mM glucose), HG + LV-GFP, and HG + LV-Sirt3. Western blotting was performed to detect the expressions of mitophagy proteins and AMPK/mTOR/ULK1-related proteins in a high glucose environment during the overexpression of Sirt3. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in a high glucose environment was measured by DCFH-DA staining. Mitophagy was detected by labeling mitochondria and lysosomes with MitoTracker and LysoTracker probes, respectively. Apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry.

RESULTS: Sirt3 expression was reduced in the high glucose group, inhibiting the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 pathway, with diminished mitophagy and increased intracellular ROS production. The overexpression of Sirt3, increased expression of p-AMPK/AMPK and p-ULK1/ULK1, and decreased expression of p-mTOR/mTOR inhibited cell apoptosis and enhanced mitophagy.

CONCLUSIONS: Sirt3 protected RPE cells from high glucose-induced injury by activating the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway.

TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: By identifying new targets of action, we aimed to establish effective therapeutic targets for diabetic retinopathy treatment.

PMID:38517447 | DOI:10.1167/tvst.13.3.19