High glucose (HG)-induced oxidative damage of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy, a severe complication of diabetes mellitus. Brahma-related gene 1 (Brg1) has currently emerged as a cytoprotective protein that alleviates oxidative damage induced by various stress. However, whether Brg1 is involved in the regulation of HG-induced oxidative damage of RGCs remains unknown. In this study, we aimed to investigate the potential role and underlying mechanism of Brg1 in regulating HG-induced damage of RGCs. We found that Brg1 expression was significantly downregulated in RGCs in response to HG treatment. Functional experiments showed that Brg1 knockdown enhanced HG-induced apoptosis and production of reactive oxygen species, while Brg1 overexpression suppressed HG-induced apoptosis and reactive oxygen species production, showing a protective effect. Moreover, Brg1 overexpression resulted in an increase in nuclear expression of nuclear factor-erythroid-2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) and the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in RGCs. Notably, inhibition of Nrf2 or HO-1 significantly blocked Brg1-mediated protection against HG-induced damage. Overall, these findings demonstrate that Brg1 protects RGCs from HG-induced oxidative damage through promotion of Nrf2/HO-1 signaling, indicating a potential role of Brg1 in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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