S1PR1 signaling attenuates apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells via modulation of cJun/Bim cascade and Bad phosphorylation in a mouse model of glaucoma

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Glaucoma is a complex neurodegenerative disease characterized by optic nerve damage and apoptotic retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death, and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Among the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors (S1PRs) family, S1PR1 is a highly expressed subtype in the central nervous system and has gained rapid attention as an important mediator of pathophysiological processes in the brain and the retina. Our recent study showed that mice treated orally with siponimod drug exerted neuroprotection via modulation of neuronal S1PR1 in experimental glaucoma. This study identified the molecular signaling pathway modulated by S1PR1 activation with siponimod treatment in RGCs in glaucomatous injury. We investigated the critical neuroprotective signaling pathway in vivo using mice deleted for S1PR1 in RGCs. Our results showed marked upregulation of the apoptotic pathway was associated with decreased Akt and Erk1/2 activation levels in the retina in glaucoma conditions. Activation of S1PR1 with siponimod treatment significantly increased neuroprotective Akt and Erk1/2 activation and attenuated the apoptotic signaling via suppression of c-Jun/Bim cascade and by increasing Bad phosphorylation. Conversely, deletion of S1PR1 in RGCs significantly increased the apoptotic cells in the ganglion cell layer in glaucoma and diminished the neuroprotective effects of siponimod treatment on Akt/Erk1/2 activation, c-Jun/Bim cascade, and Bad phosphorylation. Our data demonstrated that activation of S1PR1 in RGCs induces crucial neuroprotective signaling that suppresses the proapoptotic c-Jun/Bim cascade and increases antiapoptotic Bad phosphorylation. Our findings suggest that S1PR1 is a potential therapeutic target for neuroprotection of RGCs in glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22710
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • apoptosis
  • cell signaling
  • glaucoma
  • intraocular pressure
  • neurodegeneration
  • neuroprotection
  • siponimod
  • sphingosine-1-phosphate


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