Lactate-Mediated Protection of Retinal Ganglion Cells

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Loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is a leading cause of blinding conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of extracellular L-lactate on RGC survival facilitated through lactate metabolism and ATP production. We identified lactate as a preferred energy substrate over glucose in murine RGCs and showed that lactate metabolism and consequently increased ATP production are crucial components in promoting RGC survival during energetic crisis. Lactate was released to the extracellular environment in the presence of glucose and detained intracellularly during glucose deprivation. Lactate uptake and metabolism was unaltered in the presence and absence of glucose. However, the ATP production declined significantly for 24 h of glucose deprivation and increased significantly in the presence of lactate. Finally, lactate exposure for 2 and 24 h resulted in increased RGC survival during glucose deprivation. In conclusion, the metabolic pathway of lactate in RGCs may be of great future interest to unravel potential pharmaceutical targets, ultimately leading to novel therapies in the prevention of blinding neurodegenerative diseases, for example, glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1878-1888
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • energy metabolism, lactate, Müller cells, retinal ganglion cells

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