Careful control of iron availability in the retina is central to maintenance of iron homeostasis, as its imbalance is associated with oxidative stress and the progression of several retinopathies. Ferritin, known for its role in iron storage and detoxification, has also been proposed as an iron-transporter protein, through its binding to Scara5 and TIM2 membrane receptors. In this study, the presence and iron-related functions of TIM2 in the mouse retina were investigated. Our results revealed for the first time the presence of TIM2 receptors in the mouse retina, mainly in Müller cells. Experimental TIM2 downregulation in the mouse retina promoted, probably due to a compensatory mechanism, Scara5 overexpression that increased retinal ferritin uptake and induced iron overload. Consecutive reactive oxygen species (ROS) overproduction and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) overexpression led to impaired paracellular and transcellular endothelial transport characterized by tight junction degradation and increased caveolae number. In consequence, blood-retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown and retinal edema were observed. Altogether, these results point to TIM2 as a new modulator of retinal iron homeostasis and as a potential target to counteract retinopathy.
|Journal||Experimental Eye Research|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2021|