Calpain and Photoreceptor Apoptosis

  • Anh T. H. NguyenEmail author
  • Matthew Campbell
  • Paul F. Kenna
  • Anna-Sophia Kiang
  • Lawrence Tam
  • Marian M. Humphries
  • Peter Humphries
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 723)


Photoreceptor apoptosis is present in various retinopathies such as retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma where caspases are generally considered to be the main executioners of apoptosis in various tissues. However, accumulating evidence suggests apoptosis could occur in a caspase-independent fashion. In this view, many studies have shown that calpain activation is associated with photoreceptor apoptosis in various animal and light-induced retinal degeneration models. Thus, calpain could be a potential target for treatment and may promote cell survival in cases where caspase inhibition has failed. Herein, we review current thinking on this topic and also present data showing protection of photoreceptors to apoptosis by systemic delivery of a calpain inhibitor in a light-induced model of retinal degeneration by modulation of the inner blood retina barrier (iBRB).


Calpain Photoreceptor apoptosis Light-induced retinal damage Blood retina barrier Barrier modulation Claudin-5 Retinitis pigmentosa Age-related macular degeneration 



We thank Caroline Woods, David Flynn and Rebecca Robertson for animal husbandry. The Ocular Genetics Unit at TCD is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, The Wellcome Trust, European Vision Institute, EVI-Genoret Grant LSHG-CT-2005-512036, Fighting Blindness Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anh T. H. Nguyen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew Campbell
    • 1
  • Paul F. Kenna
    • 1
  • Anna-Sophia Kiang
    • 1
  • Lawrence Tam
    • 1
  • Marian M. Humphries
    • 1
  • Peter Humphries
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ocular Genetics Unit, Smurfit Institute of GeneticsTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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