Changes in retinal αB-crystallin (cryab) RNA transcript levels during periods of altered ocular growth in chickens

Regan S. Ashby, Pam L. Megaw, Ian G. Morgan

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in retinal crystallin gene expression have been implicated in the development of myopia in animal models. We therefore investigated the expression of αB-crystallin (cryab) in the chicken retina during periods of increased ocular growth induced by form-deprivation and negative lens-wear, and during periods of decreased ocular growth induced by diffuser removal from previously form-deprived eyes, and plus lens-wear. Cryab RNA transcript levels in the chicken retina were measured using semi-quantitative real-time RT-PCR, at times between 1 h and 10 days after the fitting of diffusers or negative lenses, and at times between 1 h and 3 days following the removal of diffusers from previously form-deprived eyes, or the addition of plus lenses. Changes in expression for each condition at each time-point are analysed relative to expression in retinas from age-matched untreated control birds. No change in relative expression of cryab RNA transcript was detected 1 h after fitting diffusers to induce form-deprivation myopia. A transient increase in cryab RNA transcript expression was detected around 1 day later (p = 0.02), but expression returned to control levels after three days. After 7 (p = 0.005) and 10 (p = 0.001) days, retinal cryab RNA transcript expression progressively increased relative to controls. After removal of the diffusers, to initiate recovery, cryab RNA transcript expression remained elevated, with only a slight return to control levels. During the development of lens-induced myopia, no changes in cryab RNA transcript expression relative to controls were seen on day 1, but increases were seen at 10 days (p = 0.004). No significant changes in retinal cryab RNA transcript expression were seen in response to plus lenses compared to either contralateral control values (MANOVA; F = 0.60, p = 0.48) or age-matched untreated values (MANOVA; F = 4.10, p = 0.08). Changes in retinal cryab RNA transcript expression were not systematically related to changes in the rate of eye growth. The role of the transient increase in cryab expression observed after 1 day of form-deprivation, which was not seen after fitting negative lenses, is unclear. The later increases in relative cryab expression seen during the development of form-deprivation and lens-induced myopia occur too late to have a major role in the differential regulation of eye growth between experimental and control eyes. Given that cryab is a member of the small heat shock protein family, the later increases may reflect the emergence of cell damage related to high myopic pathology in the experimentally enlarged eyes and retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Crystallin
  • Eye growth
  • Myopia
  • Pathology
  • Retina
  • RNA


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