Large-Scale microRNA Expression Profiling Identifies Putative Retinal miRNA-mRNA Signaling Pathways Underlying Form-Deprivation Myopia in Mice.


Development of myopia is associated with large-scale changes in ocular tissue gene expression. Although differential expression of coding genes underlying development of myopia has been a subject of intense investigation, the role of non-coding genes such as microRNAs in the development of myopia is largely unknown. In this study, we explored myopia-associated miRNA expression profiles in the retina and sclera of C57Bl/6J mice with experimentally induced myopia using microarray technology. We found a total of 53 differentially expressed miRNAs in the retina and no differences in miRNA expression in the sclera of C57BL/6J mice after 10 days of visual form deprivation, which induced -6.93 ± 2.44 D (p < 0.000001, n = 12) of myopia. We also identified their putative mRNA targets among mRNAs found to be differentially expressed in myopic retina and potential signaling pathways involved in the development of form-deprivation myopia using miRNA-mRNA interaction network analysis. Analysis of myopia-associated signaling pathways revealed that myopic response to visual form deprivation in the retina is regulated by a small number of highly integrated signaling pathways. Our findings highlighted that changes in microRNA expression are involved in the regulation of refractive eye development and predicted how they may be involved in the development of myopia by regulating retinal gene expression.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Tkatchenko, Andrei V, Xiaoyan Luo, Tatiana V Tkatchenko, Candida Vaz, Vivek M Tanavde, Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, Stefan Zauscher, Pedro Gonzalez, et al. (2016). Large-Scale microRNA Expression Profiling Identifies Putative Retinal miRNA-mRNA Signaling Pathways Underlying Form-Deprivation Myopia in Mice. PLoS One, 11(9). p. e0162541. 10.1371/journal.pone.0162541 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Stefan Zauscher

Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

My research lies at the intersection of surface and colloid science, polymer materials engineering, and biointerface science, with four central areas of focus:

  1. Fabrication, manipulation and characterization of stimulus-responsive biomolecular and bio-inspired polymeric nanostructures on surfaces;
  2. Nanotechnology of soft-wet materials and hybrid biological/non-biological microdevices;
  3. Receptor-ligand interactions relevant to the diagnostics of infectious diseases;
  4. Friction of soft-wet materials, specifically the role of glycoproteins on friction in diarthroidal joints.

These four broad lines of inquiry deal with fundamental behaviors of soft-wet materials on surfaces and interfaces. The design and fabrication of these interfaces using "smart" polymeric and biomolecular nanostructures, and the characterization of the resulting structures, are critically important for the development of biomolecular sensors and devices and for bioinspired materials. Key approaches and tools I use in my research are: bottom-up organization on the molecular scale, through self-assembly, in-situ polymerization, and manipulation of intermolecular interactions; topdown fabrication, through scanning probe nanolithography; stimulus-responsive polymers; molecular recognition; and new approaches to sensing and manipulation. This research supports Duke's Pratt School of Engineering strategic initiative to expand research in soft-wet Materials Science.

Pedro Gonzalez

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

I am interested in understanding the pathologic changes that take place in the trabecular meshwork (the tissue in the eye that is hydrodynamically abnormal in glaucoma). My work is based on the general hypothesis that different types of stress affecting the cells of the trabecular meshwork lead to the accumulation of damage in such cells over many years. This results in loss of cellularity and increase in the number of non-functional cells characterized by a senescent phenotype.

Specifically I am interested in the three following subjects related to this hypothesis:

- Understanding the mechanisms by which proteasome inhibition leads to cellular senescence. Recently it has been shown that inhibition of the proteasome triggers a senescent phenotype in fibroblasts. It is not clear at this point what signaling mechanisms are involved in triggering the program for cellular senescence. I am currently working in determining if proteasome inhibition results in cellular senescence in the cells of the outflow pathway, and in the identification of the mechanisms involved in this process.

- Characterizing the role of the cytokines TGF-beta-1 and TGF-beta-2 in accelerating the degenerative process of the trabecular meshwork. There is evidence that the concentration of the active form of the cytokine TGF-beta-2 is increased in the aqueous humor of patients with primary open angle glaucoma. We have also found that mechanical stress induces the production of TGF-beta-1 in the cells of the trabecular meshwork. Both cytokines have the potential to generate pathologic effects at long term in the outflow pathway, including fibrosis, loss of cellularity, cellular senescence, and cell growth arrest. I am currently studying the effects of chronic exposure to TGF-beta-2 in the trabecular cells using a recombinant adenovirus expressing the constitutively active form of the protein.

- Studying the dynamics of cell turnover in the trabecular meshwork and the role of the Schwalbe line's cells as progenitor cells. There is increasing evidence for the presence of either progenitor or stem cell populations in adult tissues. These cells are believed to play an important role in the maintenance and regeneration of their specific tissues, and the decline of their activity has been hypothesized to be a major factor in the progression aging and age related disease. Analysis of cell division after laser trabeculoplasty point at the cells of the Schwalbe's line as potential progenitor of the trabecular meshwork. We have recently identified positive and negative markers for these cells as well as the presence of colony-forming cells in primary cultures that shear these markers. I am interested in studying the role of Schwalbe line's cells in maintaining a normal population of cells in the trabecular meshwork as well as studying the possibility that a decline in the function of these cells may play a role in glaucoma.


Terri Lois Young

Adjunct Professor in Ophthalmology

Terri L. Young, M.D., M.B.A. is a board-certified clinician-scientist ophthalmologist.  She is a Professor of Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, and Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine.  She is a Professor of Neuroscience at the Duke- National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, with adjunct appointments at the Singapore Eye Research Institute and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.  She is the founding Director of the Duke Eye Center Ophthalmic Genetics Program.  She is also the Associate Director of the Duke School of Medicine Clinical and Translational Sciences Award Predoctoral Research TL1 Training Award.

Dr. Young's clinical interests include ophthalmic genetics, pediatric eye disease including pediatric cataracts and retinal disorder, and the surgical correction of strabismus/ eye misalignment in children and adults.  Her laboratory research focuses on the genetic studies of refractive errors, eye development and growth, primary congenital glaucoma, retinal and corneal dystrophies, and other heritable disorders.  Her research program includes the development of animal models in zebrafish and mice for ocular diseases based on our understanding of genetic influences in humans.   

Dr. Young is an editorial board member of Experimental Eye Research, World Journal of Ophthalmology, Journal of Ophthalmology, and past editorial board member of the Journal of the Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.   She has published over 180 scientific refereed articles, and multiple book chapters, reviews and abstracts.  Dr. Young has served as a strategic consultant to the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute.  She has served as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study section member for 14 years, and is currently a permanent member of the Diseases and Pathophysiology of the Visual System study section.  She also presently serves as a board member of the NIH NEI Scientific Board of Counselors.  She is the American Association of Ophthalmology Pediatric Ophthalmology Program Committee Chair, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Program Committee Vice Chair of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Section.  She is the Treasurer of Women in Ophthalmology, Inc. 

Dr. Young has garnered several prestigious awards as a Fellow of the Philadelphia College of Physicians, the American Ophthalmological Society, and the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.  She has garnered an Honor Award from the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and a Senior Honor Award from the American Association of Ophthalmology.  She is an international speaker, with multiple named lectureships.  She has been honored with citations of "Best Doctors in North Carolina", "America's Top Ophthalmologists", and in Becker's Review of "135 Leading Ophthalmolgists in America" for several years.  She has also been featured in the NIH National Library of Medicine "Changing the Face of Medicine" exhibit. (2004)

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.