The purpose of this project was to investigate the effects of the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist against retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury and identify the aldosterone/mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) system in the rat retina. Retinal ischemia was induced by increasing intraocular pressure to 130 mmHg. Rats were treated with the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1-R) antagonist (candesartan), MR antagonist (spironolactone), or aldosterone. Retinal damage was evaluated at 7 days after the ischemia by measuring the retinal thickness and the number of retinal ganglion cells. Pretreatment with candesartan, spironolactone, or candesartan and spironolactone significantly inhibited retinal ischemic injury. However, there was no protective effect against retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury provided by the combined aldosterone with candesartan treatment. Additionally, pretreatment with aldosterone alone also did not provide any neuroprotective effects against retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury. When rats were treated via local administration of aldosterone in the absence of ischemia, the number of retinal ganglion cells decreased while the retinal thickness remained unchanged. The present findings demonstrated the existence of a local aldosterone/MR system in the retina. Our results also demonstrated that an MR antagonist can attenuate subsequent ischemic damage in the rat retina.Highlights
★ Mineralocorticoid receptor-aldosterone system exists within the retina. ★ Mineralocorticoid receptor-aldosterone system can influence retinal cell death. ★ Blocking the mineralocorticoid receptor may provide a potential therapeutic benefit.