Sigma 1 receptor regulates ERK activation and promotes survival of optic nerve head astrocytes

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20 Scopus citations


The sigma 1 receptor (S1R) is a unique transmembrane protein that has been shown to regulate neuronal differentiation and cellular survival. It is expressed within several cell types throughout the nervous system and visceral organs, including neurons and glia within the eye. S1R ligands are therapeutic targets for diseases ranging from neurodegenerative conditions to neoplastic disorders. However, effects of S1R activation and inhibition within glia cells are not well characterized. Within the eye, the astrocytes at the optic nerve head are crucial to the health and survival of the neurons that send visual information to the brain. In this study, we used the S1R-specific agonist, (+)-pentazocine, to evaluate S1R activation within optic nerve head-derived astrocytes (ONHAs). Treatment of ONHAs with (+)-pentazocine attenuated the level and duration of stress-induced ERK phosphorylation following oxidative stress exposure and promoted survival of ONHAs. These effects were specific to S1R activation because they were not observed in ONHAs that were depleted of S1R using siRNA-mediated knockdown. Collectively, our results suggest that S1R activation suppresses ERK1/2 phosphorylation and protects ONHAs from oxidative stress-induced death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0184421
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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