PURPOSE: To compare the relative expression of peroxiredoxin (Prx) proteins in normal human corneal endothelium with endothelium in corneas affected by Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy (FED) and between normal human endothelium and epithelial/stromal tissue.
METHODS: Human corneal endothelial cell-Descemet's membrane (HCEC-DM) complexes from normal and FED corneal buttons were dissected from the epithelium/stroma. For proteomic analysis, HCEC-DM protein extracts were separated by using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Relative differences in protein spot density was analyzed. Proteins of interest, including Prx isoforms, were identified by MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted desorption ionization-time of flight) mass spectrometry. Western blot analysis compared the relative expression of Prx isoforms in normal and FED endothelium and between normal endothelium and normal epithelium/stroma. Expression of Prx-2 mRNA was compared by using real-time PCR.
RESULTS: Proteomic analysis identified differences in the relative expression of Prx isoforms between normal and FED endothelium. Western blot analysis confirmed that expression of Prx-2, -3, and -5 was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in FED cells. Normal HCECs expressed significantly (P < 0.05) higher levels of Prx-2 and -3 than did the epithelium/stroma. Expression of Prx-5 was not significantly different (P > 0.05) in the endothelium versus the epithelium/stroma. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that Prx-2 mRNA was significantly decreased (P = 0.027) in FED samples.
CONCLUSIONS: Prx proteins were identified in human corneal endothelium. The fact that Prx-2 and -3 were expressed at significantly higher levels in HCEC-DM compared with the epithelium/stroma reflects the different physiologic activities of individual corneal cell types. Significantly decreased expression of Prx-2, -3, and -5 in FED may suggest an alteration in the ability of endothelial cells to withstand oxidant-induced damage and may be closely related to the pathogenesis of this disease.
PURPOSE: To investigate the differential expression of the glycoprotein clusterin/apoJ (CLU) in normal and Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy (FED) corneal endothelium and to compare the expression of various forms of CLU in normal and FED tissue.
METHODS: FED and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (PBK) corneal buttons were removed during transplantation, and normal corneas were obtained from tissue banks. Human corneal endothelial cells and Descemet's membrane (HCEC-DM) complex was dissected from the stroma. Proteins were separated on 2-D gels and subjected to comparative proteomic analysis. Relative expression of presecretory CLU (pre-sCLU), secretory (s)CLU, and nuclear (n)CLU were compared between normal and FED HCEC-DM by Western blot analysis. Expression of CLU mRNA was compared by using RT-PCR. Subcellular localization of CLU was compared in corneal wholemounts from normal eyes and eyes with FED by immunocytochemistry followed by confocal microscopy.
RESULTS: Proteomic analysis revealed an apparent increase in CLU expression in FED HCEC-DM compared with the normal control. Western blot analysis demonstrated that pre-sCLU protein expression was 5.2 times higher in FED than in normal samples (P = 3.52E-05), whereas the mature form modified for secretion (sCLU) was not significantly elevated (P = 0.092). Expression of nCLU protein was significantly elevated in FED (P = 0.013). RT-PCR analysis revealed that CLU mRNA was significantly increased (P = 0.002) in FED samples, but not in PBK samples. CLU also had a distinctive localization in FED samples with enhanced intracellular staining around the guttae and in the nuclei of endothelial cells.
CONCLUSIONS: CLU expression is markedly elevated in FED-affected tissue, pointing to a yet undiscovered form of dysregulation of endothelial cell function involved in FED pathogenesis.