S-adenosyl-L-methionine restores photoreceptor function following acute retinal ischemia

Leith Moxon-Lester, Kei Takamoto, Paul B Colditz, Nigel L Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The survival and function of retinal neurons is dependent on mitochondrial energy generation and its intracellular distribution by creatine kinase. Post ischemic disruption of retinal creatine synthesis, creatine kinase activity, or transport of creatine into neurons may impair retinal function. S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is required for creatine synthesis, phosphatidylcholine and glutathione synthesis, and transducin methylation. These reactions are essential for photoreceptor function but may be downregulated after ischemia due to a reduction in SAMe. Our aim was to determine whether administration of SAMe after ischemia could improve retinal function. Unilateral retinal ischemia was induced in adult rats by increasing the intraocular pressure to 110 mm Hg for 60 min. Immediately after the ischemic insult, SAMe was injected into the vitreous (100 microM), followed by oral administration (69 mg/kg/day) for 5 or 10 days. Retinal function (electroretinography), histology, and creatine transporter (CRT-1) expression were analyzed. Photoreceptoral responses (R(mP3), S), rod and cone bipolar cell responses (PII), and oscillatory potentials were reduced by the ischemia/reperfusion insult. Although SAMe treatment ameliorated the ischemia-induced histological damage by day 5, there was no improvement in retinal function and the intensity of CRT-1 labeling in ischemic retinas was markedly reduced. However, 10 days after ischemia, a recovery in CRT-1 immunolabeling was evident and SAMe supplementation significantly restored photoreceptor function and rod PII responses. In conclusion, these data suggest that creatine transport and methylation reactions, such as creatine synthesis, may be compromised by an ischemic insult contributing to retinal dysfunction and injury. Oral SAMe supplementation after retinal ischemia may provide an effective, safe, and accessible neuroprotective strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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