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Eye Opener in Stroke.


Background and Purpose- Retinal ischemia is a major cause of visual impairment in stroke patients, but our incomplete understanding of its pathology may contribute to a lack of effective treatment. Here, we investigated the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in retinal ischemia and probed the potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in mitochondrial repair under such pathological condition. Methods- In vivo, rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion then randomly treated with intravenous MSCs or vehicle. Laser Doppler was used to evaluate the blood flow in the brain and the eye, while immunohistochemical staining assessed cellular degeneration at days 3 and 14 poststroke. In vitro, retinal pigmented epithelium cells were exposed to either oxygen-glucose deprivation or oxygen-glucose deprivation and coculture with MSCs, and subsequently, cell death and mitochondrial function were examined immunocytochemically and with Seahorse analyzer, respectively. Results- Middle cerebral artery occlusion significantly reduced blood flow in the brain and the eye accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction and ganglion cell death at days 3 and 14 poststroke. Intravenous MSCs elicited mitochondrial repair and improved ganglion cell survival at day 14 poststroke. Oxygen-glucose deprivation similarly induced mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death in retinal pigmented epithelium cells; coculture with MSCs restored mitochondrial respiration, mitochondrial network morphology, and mitochondrial dynamics, which likely attenuated oxygen-glucose deprivation-mediated retinal pigmented epithelium cell death. Conclusions- Retinal ischemia is closely associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, which can be remedied by stem cell-mediated mitochondrial repair.

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