Requirement of Smad4 from Ocular Surface Ectoderm for Retinal DevelopmentReport as inadecuate

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Microphthalmia is characterized by abnormally small eyes and usually retinal dysplasia, accounting for up to 11% of the blindness in children. Right now there is no effective treatment for the disease, and the underlying mechanisms, especially how retinal dysplasia develops from microphthalmia and whether it depends on the signals from lens ectoderm are still unclear. Mutations in genes of the TGF-β superfamily have been noted in patients with microphthalmia. Using conditional knockout mice, here we address the question that whether ocular surface ectoderm-derived Smad4 modulates retinal development. We found that loss of Smad4 specifically on surface lens ectoderm leads to microphthalmia and dysplasia of retina. Retinal dysplasia in the knockout mice is caused by the delayed or failed differentiation and apoptosis of retinal cells. Microarray analyses revealed that members of Hedgehog and Wnt signaling pathways are affected in the knockout retinas, suggesting that ocular surface ectoderm-derived Smad4 can regulate Hedgehog and Wnt signaling in the retina. Our studies suggest that defective of ocular surface ectoderm may affect retinal development.

Author: Jing Li, Shusheng Wang, Chastain Anderson, Fangkun Zhao, Yu Qin, Di Wu, Xinwei Wu, Jia Liu, Xuefei He, Jiangyue Zhao , Jinsong Zh



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