Resveratrol Inhibits Neuronal Apoptosis and Elevated Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II Activity in Diabetic Mouse Retina

  1. Wan-Sung Choi
  1. From the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Gyeongnam, Korea.
  1. Corresponding author: Wan Sung Choi, choiws{at}


OBJECTIVE This study investigated the effects of resveratrol, a natural polyphenol with neuroprotective properties, on retinal neuronal cell death mediated by diabetes-induced activation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Diabetes was induced in C57BL/6 mice by five consecutive intraperitoneal injections of 55 mg/kg streptozotocin (STZ). Control mice received buffer. All mice were killed 2 months after the injections, and the extent of neuronal cell death, CaMKII, and phospho-CaMKII protein expression levels and CaMKII kinase activity were examined in the retinas. To assess the role of CaMKII in the death of retinal neurons, a small-interfering RNA (siRNA) or specific inhibitor of CaMKII was injected into the right vitreous humor, and vehicle only was injected into the left vitreous humor, 2 days before death. Resveratrol (20 mg/kg) was administered by oral gavage daily for 4 weeks, beginning 1 month after the fifth injection of either STZ or buffer.

RESULTS The death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), CaMKII, phospho-CaMKII protein levels, and CaMKII activity were all greatly increased in the retinas of diabetic mice compared with controls, 2 months after induction of diabetes. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive signals co-localized with CaMKII- and phospho-CaMKII immunoreactive RGCs. However, in addition to CaMKII knockdown and inhibition by siRNA or a specific inhibitor, respectively, resveratrol provided complete protection from diabetes-induced retinal cell death.

CONCLUSIONS In the present study, resveratrol prevented diabetes-induced RGC death via CaMKII downregulation, implying that resveratrol may have potential therapeutic applications for prevention of diabetes-induced visual dysfunction.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

  • Received September 25, 2009.
  • Accepted April 17, 2010.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 7 1825-1835
  1. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db09-1431v1
    2. 59/7/1825 most recent