Osmotic pressure-adaptive responses in the eye tissues of rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax)

Gendron, Robert L. and Armstrong, Elizabeth and Paradis, Helene and Haines, Lacey and Desjardins, Mariève and Short, Connie E. and Clow, Kathy A. and Driedzic, William R. (2011) Osmotic pressure-adaptive responses in the eye tissues of rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Molecular Vision, 17. pp. 2596-2604. ISSN 1090-0535

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Purpose: The rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), is a teleost fish, which avoids freezing by becoming virtually isosmotic with seawater. The effects that such massive changes in osmolarity have on both its visual system and its highly evolved and specialized circulation are not known. New knowledge about the osmotic adaptation of the rainbow smelt eye is highly relevant to the adaptation and survival of this species and to its ability to feed as a visual predator in the face of environmental pressures. Moreover, the molecular physiologic response of the smelt to osmotic stress might provide valuable insights into understanding and managing mammalian pathological hyperosmolarity conditions, such as diabetes. We undertook the present study to provide an initial assessment of gene expression in ocular vasculature during osmotic adaptation in rainbow smelt. Methods: Immunohistochemistry with species cross reactive antibodies was used to assess blood vessel protein expression in paraffin sections. Western blotting was used to further verify antibody specificity for orthologs of mammalian blood vessel proteins in rainbow smelt. Thermal hysteresis and the analysis of glycerol concentrations in vitreous fluid were used to assess the physiologic adaptive properties of cold stressed eyes. Results: Glycerol levels and osmotic pressure were significantly increased in the vitreal fluid of smelt maintained at <0.5 °C versus those maintained at 8–10 °C. Compared to the 8–10 °C adapted specimens, the rete mirabile blood vessels and connecting regions of the endothelial linings of the choroidal vessels of the <0.5 °C adapted specimens showed a higher expression level of Tubedown (Tbdn) protein, a marker of the endothelial transcellular permeability pathway. Expression of the zonula occludens protein ZO-1, a marker of the endothelial paracellular permeability pathway showed a reciprocal expression pattern and was downregulated in rete mirabile blood vessels and connecting regions in the endothelial linings of choroidal vessels in <0.5 °C adapted specimens. Smelt orthologs of the mammalian Tbdn and zoluna occludens protein 1 (ZO-1) proteins were also detected by western blotting using anti-mammalian antibodies raised against the same epitopes as those used for immunohistochemistry. Conclusions: This work provides the first evidence that molecules known to play a role in ocular vascular homeostasis are expressed and may be differentially regulated during anti-freezing cold adaptation in smelt eyes. We propose a hypothesis that in a state of cold-induced hyperosmolarity, changes in ZO-1 expression are associated with the passage of small solutes from the plasma space to ocular fluid, while changes in Tbdn expression regulate the passage of proteins between the ocular fluid and plasma space. This work also provides fundamental insight into the mechanisms underlying the adaptation of the blood-retinal barrier to metabolically relevant compounds such as glycerol.

1 Citations in Google Scholar
Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/128
Item ID: 128
Keywords: Adaptation, Physiological, Antifreeze Proteins, Biosynthesis, Aquatic Organisms, Physiology, Fish Proteins , Glycerol, Blood, Osmeriformes, Osmeridae, Tissues, Eye
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Science, Faculty of > Ocean Sciences
Date: 5 October 2011
Date Type: Publication

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