Interleukin-10 Receptor Signaling through STAT-3 Regulates the Apoptosis of Retinal Ganglion Cells in Response to Stress

Zachary S. Boyd, Aleksie Kriatchko, Junjie Yang, Neeraj Agarwal, Martin B. Wax, Rajkumar V. Patil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Interleukin (IL)-10 has recently been shown to promote survival of neurons and glia. The purpose of this report is to investigate whether IL-10 has any role in protecting retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) from death under conditions in which growth factors are removed, or in which oxidative stress is present. Signal transduction pathways that activate IL-10 signaling in RGCs were studied in both stress conditions. METHODS. Effects of various interleukins on the viability of the RGC cell line was determined, and apoptotic cells were quantified. Immunoblot analysis was preformed to identify the IL-10 receptor (IL-10R) and phosphorylated or nonphosphorylated Akt and STAT-3 proteins in RGC extracts. Immunohistochemistry was performed on the rat retinal sections to identify native IL-10R. RESULTS. Apoptosis of RGCs in the absence of growth factors with or without dexamethasone (1 μM) occurred in 68.5% ± 3.4% and 53.4% ± 2.6% of cells, respectively, after 96 hours. Addition of IL-10 at a concentration of 50 ng/mL significantly reduced the apoptotic population of RGCs to 28.2% ± 2.3% in the absence of growth factors with dexamethasone and to 31% ± 2.7% in the absence of growth factors alone. RGCs as well as native retina expressed functional IL-10R as determined by immunoblot analysis and by the ability of IL-10 to phosphorylate Stat-3. However, IL-10 failed to phosphorylate Akt in these cells. CONCLUSIONS. IL-10 caused a 59% and 42% reduction in the apoptotic population of serum-deprived cells with and without dexamethasone treatment, respectively. These observations establish that activation of IL-10R promotes survival of RGCs and this survival-promoting activity is due to IL-10 signaling through the Stat-3 pathway, which inhibits the cell death and not through the Akt cell survival pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5206-5211
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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