Purpose. To identify retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)/choroid genes and their relevant expression pathways affected by intravitreal injections of dexamethasone and triamcinolone acetonide in mice at clinically relevant time points for patient care. Methods. Differential gene expression of over 34,000 well-characterized mouse genes in the RPE/choroid of 6-week-old C57BL/6J mice was analyzed after intravitreal steroid injections at 1 week and 1 month postinjection, using Affymetrix Mouse Genome 430 2.0 microarrays. The data were analyzed using GeneSpring GX 12.5 and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) microarray analysis software for biologically relevant changes. Results. Both triamcinolone and dexamethasone caused differential activation of genes involved in "Circadian Rhythm Signaling" pathway at both time points tested. Triamcinolone (TAA) uniquely induced significant changes in gene expression in "Calcium Signaling" (1 week) and "Glutamate Receptor Signaling" pathways (1 month). In contrast, dexamethasone (Dex) affected the "GABA Receptor Signaling" (1 week) and "Serotonin Receptor Signaling" (1 month) pathways. Understanding how intraocular steroids affect the gene expression of RPE/choroid is clinically relevant. Conclusions. This in vivo study has elucidated several genes and pathways that are potentially altering the circadian rhythms and several other neurotransmitter pathways in RPE/choroid during intravitreal steroid injections, which likely has consequences in the dysregulation of RPE function and neurodegeneration of the retina.
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