GPR109A as an anti-inflammatory receptor in retinal pigment epithelial cells and its relevance to diabetic retinopathy.

Deeksha Gambhir, Sudha Ananth, Rajalakshmi Veeranan-Karmegam, Selvakumar Elangovan, Shanterian Hester, Eric Jennings, Stefan Offermanns, Julian J Nussbaum, Sylvia B. Smith, Muthusamy Thangaraju, Vadivel Ganapathy, Pamela M. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) expresses GPR109A, a receptor for the vitamin niacin and the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB). Because diabetes results in elevated levels of β-HB, here we studied expression of the receptor in diabetic retina. We also investigated its functional relevance in RPE. Retinal expression of GPR109A in diabetic mice and postmortem human eyes was evaluated by quantitative PCR (qPCR). ARPE-19 cells and primary wild-type and Gpr109a(-/-) mouse RPE cells were exposed to TNF-α in the presence or absence of niacin or β-HB, followed by analysis of IL-6 and Ccl2 expression via real-time qPCR and ELISA. GPR109A expression was increased in diabetic mouse and human retina. TNF-α increased the expression and secretion of IL-6 and Ccl2 in ARPE-19 cells. Niacin and β-HB suppressed these effects, implicating GPR109A as the target responsible for mediation of the observed effects. Primary RPE cells from wild-type mice behaved similarly. In contrast, GPR109A ligands failed to suppress TNF-α-induced expression and secretion of IL-6 and Ccl2 in primary RPE cells from Gpr109a(-/-) mice, confirming that the observed anti-inflammatory effects were mediated specifically by Gpr109a. GPR109A plays an anti-inflammatory role in RPE and its expression is upregulated in diabetes. Inflammation is a key causative factor in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. We speculate that the increased expression of GPR109A and elevation of its ligand β-HB in diabetes are mechanisms by which the tissue attempts to fight inflammation in this disease. Pharmacological activation of GPR109A may therefore have therapeutic potential in clinical management of diabetic retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2208-2217
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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