Ocular application of nerve growth factor protects degenerating retinal ganglion cells in a rat model of glaucoma

Valeria Colafrancesco, Vincenzo Parisi, Valentina Sposato, Simona Rossi, Matteo Antonio Russo, Marco Coassin, Alessandro Lambiase, Luigi Aloe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Elevated intraocular pressure is a crucial pathologic event for the development of glaucoma (GL). We have reported that nerve growth factor (NGF) reaches retinal cells and the optic nerve (ON) when applied to the eye. Whether ocular application of NGF prevents or reduces damage to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) is not known. Methods: GL was induced in adult rats by the injection of hypertonic saline into the episcleral vein of the right eye and the left eye used as control. Rats were then treated daily with ocular application of NGF or vehicle solution for 7 weeks. Retinal and ON tissues were then used for structural, immunohistochemical, and biochemical studies. Results: The injection of hypertonic saline into the episcleral vein led to progressive degeneration of RGCs, with the loss of nearly 40% of these cells after 7 weeks of treatment. This cellular loss is associated with the downregulation of NGF and NGF-receptor expression in the retina and ON of the glaucomatous eye and ocular treatment with NGF significantly reduced the deficit induced by GL. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that NGF can exert protective action on RGC degeneration occurring in glaucomatous retina. We suggest that ocular NGF treatment might be a suitable pharmacologic approach to investigate protective mechanisms of degenerating RGCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Glaucoma
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • Glaucoma (GL)
  • intraocular pressure (IOP)
  • neurotrophins
  • NGFreceptor
  • retinal ganglion cell (RGC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Ocular application of nerve growth factor protects degenerating retinal ganglion cells in a rat model of glaucoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this