Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic pathway in which proteins and organelles are engulfed by vacuoles that are targeted to lysosomes for degradation. Defects in the autophagic machinery have been described in several neurodegenerative diseases uncovering the tight dependency of neuronal survival on the efficiency of the autophagic process. Despite the large amount of literature investigating autophagy in a number of pathological conditions our knowledge of its role in glaucoma neurodegeneration is just beginning. However, recent experimental data revealing that autophagy modulation occurs in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) under glaucoma-related stressing conditions support the hypothesis that dysfunctional autophagy might underlie the process leading to RGC death. Although our understanding of the role of autophagy in glaucoma is still developing, there is the possibility that neuroprotection may be achieved by modulating autophagy. This would be a promising approach as it could lead to the much-sought development of alternative therapeutic strategies to prevent visual loss in glaucoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery