Enteral arg-gln dipeptide administration increases retinal docosahexaenoic acid and neuroprotectin D1 in a murine model of retinopathy of prematurity

Lynn Calvin Shaw, Sergio Li Calzi, Nan Li, Leni Moldovan, Nilanjana Sengupta-Caballero, Judith Lindsey Quigley, Mircea Ivan, Bokkyoo Jun, Nicolas G. Bazan, Michael Edwin Boulton, Julia Busik, Josef Neu, Maria B. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE. Low levels of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been implicated in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). However, oral DHA suffers from poor palatability and is associated with increased bleeding in premature infants. We asked whether oral administration of the neutraceutical arginine-glutamine (Arg-Glu) could increase retinal DHA and improve outcomes in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). METHODS. Postnatal day 7 (P7) pups were maintained at 75% oxygen for 5 days and then returned to room air on P12. Pups were gavaged twice daily with Arg-Gln or vehicle from P12 to P17 and eyes were harvested for analysis on P17. Vaso-obliteration and vascular density were assessed on retinal flat mounts and preretinal neovascularization was assessed on retinal cross sections. Retinas were used for measurement of DHA and 10,17S-docosatriene (neuroprotectin D1, NPD1), a key DHA-derived lipid, and for analysis by reverse-phase protein array (RPPA). RESULTS. With Arg-Gln treatment, retinal DHA and NPD1 levels were increased in OIR pups. Arg-Gln reduced preretinal neovascularization by 39 ± 6% (P < 0.05) relative to vehicle control. This was accompanied by a restoration of vascular density of the retina in the pups treated with Arg-Gln (73.0 ± 3.0%) compared to vehicle (53.1 ± 3.4%; P < 0.05). Arg-Gln dipeptide restored OIR-induced signaling changes toward normoxia and was associated with normalization of insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 signaling and reduction of apoptosis and an increase in anti-apoptosis proteins. CONCLUSIONS. Arg-Gln may serve as a safer and easily tolerated nutraceutical agent for prevention or treatment of ROP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-869
Number of pages12
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018



  • Arg-gln dipeptide
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Neutraceuticals
  • Oxygen-induced retinopathy
  • Retinal proteomic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Shaw, L. C., Calzi, S. L., Li, N., Moldovan, L., Sengupta-Caballero, N., Quigley, J. L., Ivan, M., Jun, B., Bazan, N. G., Boulton, M. E., Busik, J., Neu, J., & Grant, M. B. (2018). Enteral arg-gln dipeptide administration increases retinal docosahexaenoic acid and neuroprotectin D1 in a murine model of retinopathy of prematurity. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 59(2), 858-869. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23034