Continuous exposure to bright light upregulates bFGF and CNTF expression in the rat retina

Rong Wen, Tong Cheng, Ying Song, Michael T. Matthes, Douglas Yasumura, Matthew M. LaVail, Roy H. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Purpose. To examine mRNA expression of neurotrophic factors in the retina after exposure to bright light. Methods. Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to light of 115-130 ft-c. Retinas were collected after 1, 2, 4 or 7 days of exposure. Northern blot analysis was performed to determine mRNA levels for the following factors and their receptors: basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Expression of bFGE CNTF and GFAP was localized by in situ hybridization. Results. Exposure to light of 115-130 ft-c resulted in a substantial increase in bFGF and CNTF expression that persisted during the entire 7-day period of exposure. The peak expression of bFGF was almost 9-fold at day 2. The increase in CNTF mRNA reached a maximum of 6-fold at day 4. A small increase (50%) in IGF-1 mRNA was also seen at day 4. Among the receptors, an elevation of 3-fold in FGF receptor 1 (FGFR-1) was observed at day 2. There was also a small increase (70%) in IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) at day 2. In addition, the expression of GFAP showed a rapid elevation of about 8-fold by day 1 and 9-fold by day 2, and 18-fold by day it. There was, however, no significant alteration in the expression of aFGF and BDNE. In situ hybridizations showed that the elevation of bFGF, CNTF and GFAP occurred across the entire retina with especially prominent increases over specific layers for each gene. Conclusions. Continuous exposure to bright light upregulates bFGF, CNTF, FGFR-1 and GFAP expression in the rat retina. The pattern of induced expression closely resembles that induced by mechanical injury, implying a common underlying mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-500
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Light damage
  • Muller cells
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Photoreceptors
  • Retinal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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