Glaucoma is characterized by the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGC), and accordingly the preservation of RGCs and their axons has recently attracted significant attention to improve therapeutic outcomes in the disease. Here, we report that Src homology region 2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 2 (Shp2) undergoes activation in the RGCs, in animal model of glaucoma as well as in the human glaucoma tissues and that Shp2 dephosphorylates tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) receptor, leading to reduced BDNF/TrkB neuroprotective survival signaling. This was elucidated by specifically modulating Shp2 expression in the RGCs in vivo, using adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2) constructs. Shp2 upregulation promoted endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and apoptosis, along with functional and structural deficits in the inner retina. In contrast, loss of Shp2 decelerated the loss of RGCs, preserved their function, and suppressed ER stress and apoptosis in glaucoma. This report constitutes the first identification of Shp2-mediated TrkB regulatory mechanisms in the RGCs that can become a potential therapeutic target in both glaucoma and other neurodegenerative disorders.
- ER stress
- gene delivery