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J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 6;31(14):5495-503. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0187-11.2011.

Otx2 promotes the survival of damaged adult retinal ganglion cells and protects against excitotoxic loss of visual acuity in vivo.

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  • 1Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7241, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 1050, Collège de France and Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure, 75005 Paris, France.


Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are the projection neurons from the eye to the brain and their loss results in visual impairment in a number of diseases. Transcription factors with a homeodomain can translocate between cells and, in at least one reported case, can stimulate neuronal survival. Otx2 is a homeoprotein transcription factor expressed in the retina that is taken up by RGCs. We thus hypothesized that Otx2 capture could regulate the survival of adult RGCs. We report that Otx2 stimulates the survival of adult mouse and rat RGCs in vitro and protects RGCs against NMDA-induced toxicity in vivo in mice. In the latter model, Otx2 also preserves visual acuity.

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