Myopia is the leading cause of refractive errors. As its pathogenesis is poorly understood, we determined if the retinal VIP-VIPR2 signalling pathway axis has a role in controlling signalling output that affects myopia development in mice.
Association analysis meta-study, single-cell transcriptome, bulk RNA sequencing, pharmacological manipulation and VIPR2 gene knockout studies were used to clarify if changes in the VIP-VIPR2 signalling pathway affect refractive development in mice.
The SNP rs6979985 of the gene was associated with high myopia in a Chinese Han cohort (randomceffect model: p=0.013). After either 1 or 2 days’ form deprivation (FD) retinal mRNA expression was downregulated. Retinal single-cell transcriptome sequencing showed that VIPR2 expressed mainly by bipolar cells. Furthermore, the cAMP signalling pathway axis was inhibited in some clusters after 2 days of FD. The selective VIPR2 antagonist PG99-465 induced relative myopia, whereas the selective VIPR2 agonist Ro25-1553 inhibited this response. In knockout (-KO) mice, refraction was significantly shifted towards myopia (p<0.05). The amplitudes of the bipolar cell derived b-waves in 7-week-old -KO mice were significantly larger than those in their WT littermates (p<0.05).
Loss of VIPR2 function likely compromises bipolar cell function based on presumed changes in signal transduction due to altered signature electrical wave activity output in these mice. As these effects correspond with increases in form deprivation myopia (FDM), the VIP-VIPR2 signalling pathway axis is a viable novel target to control the development of this condition.

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