Inhibition of DUSP6 Activates Autophagy and Rescues the Retinal Pigment Epithelium in Sodium Iodate-Induced Retinal Degeneration Models In Vivo and In Vitro


Tsai Hao-Yu,Lai Henkie Isahwan Ahmad MulyadiORCID,Chen Zhang-Yuan,Lin Tai-Chi,Khor Winnie,Kuo Wen-Chuan,Syu Jia-Pu,Tsai Ping-HsingORCID,Yang Yi-Ping,Chien YuehORCID,Chen Shih-Jen,Hwang De-Kuang,Chiou Shih-Hwa,Chou Shih-JieORCID


Autophagy plays a protective role in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) by eliminating damaged organelles in response to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Dual-specificity protein phosphatase 6 (DUSP6), which belongs to the DUSP subfamily, works as a negative-feedback regulator of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. However, the complex interplay between DUSP6 and autophagy induced by ROS in RPE is yet to be investigated. To investigate the relationship between DUSP6 and autophagy, we exposed the ARPE-19 cell line and C57BL/6N mice to sodium iodate (NaIO3) as an oxidative stress inducer. Our data showed that the inhibition of DUSP6 activity promotes autophagy flux through the ERK pathway via the upregulation of immunoblotting expression in ARPE-19 cells. Live imaging showed a significant increase in autophagic flux activities, which suggested the restoration autophagy after treatment with the DUSP6 inhibitor. Furthermore, the mouse RPE layer exhibited an irregular structure and abnormal deposits following NaIO3 injection. The retina layer was recovered after being treated with DUSP6 inhibitor; this suggests that DUSP6 inhibitor can rescue retinal damage by restoring the mouse retina’s autophagy flux. This study suggests that the upregulation of DUSP6 can cause autophagy flux malfunctions in the RPE. The DUSP6 inhibitor can restore autophagy induction, which may serve as a potential therapeutic approach for retinal degeneration disease.


Ministry of Science and Technology

Taipei Veterans General Hospital

Yen Tjing Ling Medical Foundation




General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology,Medicine (miscellaneous)







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