Expression of Otx Genes in Müller Cells Using an In Vitro Experimental Model of Retinal Hypoxia

Claudio Azzolini, Simone Donati (Coresponding Author), Giovanni Micheloni, Vittoria Moretti, Roberto Valli, Francesco Acquati, Lucy Costantino, Fulvio Ferrara, Davide Borroni, Elias Premi, Francesco Testa, Francesca Simonelli, Giovanni Porta

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Introduction. Müller glial cells typically activate to react to hypoxic tissue damage in several retinal diseases. We evaluated the in vitro response to a hypoxia-mimicking stimulus on the expression of a set of genes, known to contribute to eye morphogenesis and cell differentiation. Materials and Methods. A MIO-M1 Müller cell line was cultured in a hypoxia-mimicking environment by the addition of cobalt chloride to the culture medium, followed by a recovery time in which we mimic restoration from the hypoxic insult. The HIF-1α protein and VEGF-A gene expression were quantified to verify the induction of a hypoxia-like state. Results. Among the genes under study, we did not observe any difference in the expression levels of Otx1 and Otx2 during treatment; conversely, Otx1 was overexpressed during recovery steps. The VEGF-A gene was strongly upregulated at both the CoCl2 and recovery time points. The transactivated isoform (TA) of the TP73 gene showed an overexpression in long-term exposure to the hypoxic stimulus with a further increase after recovery. Discussion. Our molecular analysis is able to describe the activation of a set of genes, never before described, that can drive the response to a hypoxia-like status. The improved comprehension of these cellular events will be useful for designing new therapeutical approaches for retinal pathologies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6265553
    JournalJournal of Ophthalmology
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Field of Science*

    • 3.1 Basic medicine
    • 3.2 Clinical medicine

    Publication Type*

    • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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