Changes in melatonin receptor expression in a murine model of glaucoma

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Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the changes in the melatoninergic receptors of DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice with the development of glaucoma. DBA/2J mice are widely used to study the physiopathology of glaucoma due to the similarities of their eyes to human eyes and the resulting similarity in the development of their pathology. In addition, melatoninergic receptors are known for their control of intraocular pressure (IOP), reducing the production of aqueous humor; however, little is known about their relationship with the development of this pathology. Methods: mRNA expression of MT1, MT2, and GPR50 melatoninergic receptors was performed with quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, receptor expression was performed with immunohistochemical techniques on the ciliary processes. To further investigate the effect of melatonin and its analog 5-methoxycarbonylamino-N-acetyltryptamine (5-MCA-NAT) on IOP, animals were instilled with these compounds and the corresponding melatoninergic antagonists to assess their effect on IOP. Results: All melatoninergic receptor expression decayed with the development of the glaucomatous pathology in the DBA/2J mice, and was especially visible for the MT2 receptor. However, receptor expression was consistent in the C57BL/6J control mice across all ages investigated. Furthermore, IOP blockage was stronger with 4PPDOT (MT2 antagonist) only in the DBA/2J mice which suggests a correlation of this receptor with the development of the glaucomatous pathology in DBA/2J animals. Conclusions: Melatonin receptor expression decays with the development of the glaucomatous pathology. This implies that the physiologic hypotensive effect of endogenous melatonin reducing IOP is not possible. A solution for such changes in receptor expression is the exogenous application of melatonin or any of its analogs that permit the activation of the remaining melatonin receptors.
Received 25 November 2019 | Accepted 27 July 2020 | Published 29 July 2020