F-actin polymerization contributes to pericyte contractility in retinal capillaries


Kureli G., Yilmaz-Ozcan S., Erdener Ş. E. , Donmez-Demir B. N. , Yemisci M., Karatas H., ...More

EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY, vol.332, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 332
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113392
  • Journal Name: EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Pericyte, Retina, Microvasculature, Contraction, Actin, VASCULAR SMOOTH-MUSCLE, BLOOD-FLOW REGULATION, ARTERIOLES, BRAIN, SUBTYPES, PROTEIN, HEALTH

Abstract

Although it has been documented that central nervous system pericytes are able to contract in response to physiological, pharmacological or pathological stimuli, the underlying mechanism of pericyte contractility is incompletely understood especially in downstream pericytes that express low amounts of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA). To study whether pericyte contraction involves F-actin polymerization as in vascular smooth muscle cells, we increased retinal microvascular pericyte tonus by intravitreal injection of a vasoconstrictive agent, noradrenaline (NA). The contralateral eye of each mouse was used for vehicle injection. The retinas were rapidly extracted and fixed within 2 min after injections. Polymeric/filamentous (F-actin) and monomeric/globular (G-actin) forms of actin were labeled by fluorescently-conjugated phalloidin and deoxyribonuclease-I, respectively. We studied 108 and 83 pericytes from 6 NA- and 6 vehicle-treated retinas and, found that F/G-actin ratio, a microscopy-based index of F-actin polymerization, significantly increased in NA-treated retinas [median (IQR): 4.2 (3.1) vs. 3.5 (2.1), p = .006], suggesting a role for F-actin polymerization in pericyte contractility. Shift from G-actin monomers to polymerized F-actin was more pronounced in 5th and 6th order contracted pericytes compared to non-contracted ones [7.6 (4.7) vs. 3.2 (1.2), p < .001], possibly due to their dependence on de novo F-actin polymerization for contractile force generation because they express a-SMA in low quantities. Capillaries showing F-actin polymerization had significantly reduced diameters compared to the ones that did not exhibit increased F/G-actin ratio in pericytes [near soma / branch origin diameter; 0.67 (0.14) vs. 0.81 (0.34), p = .005]. NA-responsive capillaries generally did not show nodal constrictions but a fide-like diameter decrease, reaching a maximum near pericyte soma. These findings suggest that pericytes on high order downstream capillaries have F-actin-mediated contractile capability, which may contribute to the vascular resistance and blood flow regulation in capillary bed.