Sleep deprivation induces corneal endothelial dysfunction by downregulating Bmal1

BMC Ophthalmol. 2024 Jun 21;24(1):268. doi: 10.1186/s12886-024-03524-4.


BACKGROUND: Sleep deprivation (SD) is a common public health problem that contributes to various physiological disorders and increases the risk of ocular diseases. However, whether sleep loss can damage corneal endothelial function remains unclear. This study aimed to determine the effect and possible mechanism of SD on the corneal endothelium.

METHODS: Male C57BL/6J mice were subjected to establish SD models. After 10 days, quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blot or immunostaining for the expression levels of zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), ATPase Na+/K + transporting subunit alpha 1 (Atp1a1), and core clock genes in the corneal endothelium were evaluated. Reactive oxygen species staining and mitochondrial abundance characterized the mitochondrial function. The regulatory role of Bmal1 was confirmed by specifically knocking down or overexpressing basic helix-loop-helix ARNT like 1 protein (Bmal1) in vivo. In vitro, a mitochondrial stress test was conducted on cultured human corneal endothelial cells upon Bmal1 knockdown.

RESULTS: SD damaged the barrier and pump functions of mouse corneal endothelium, accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction. Interestingly, SD dramatically downregulated the core clock gene Bmal1 expression level. Bmal1 knockdown disrupted corneal endothelial function, while overexpression of Bmal1 ameliorated the dysfunction induced by SD. Mitochondrial bioenergetic deficiency mediated by Bmal1 was an underlying mechanism for SD induced corneal endothelial dysfunction.

CONCLUSION: The downregulation of Bmal1 expression caused by SD led to corneal endothelial dysfunction via impairing mitochondrial bioenergetics. Our findings offered insight into how SD impairs the physiological function of the corneal endothelium and expanded the understanding of sleep loss leading to ocular diseases.

PMID:38907352 | DOI:10.1186/s12886-024-03524-4