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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2001 Jul-Sep;11 Suppl 2:S23-9.

Animal and culture models of glaucoma for studying neuroprotection.

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Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison 53792, USA.



Neuroprotection aims to treat nervous system disease by maintaining the health and function of neurons. The final proof of the neuroprotective strategy relies on randomized, controlled clinical trials, but the choice of which agents to study for these trials depends on studies in the laboratory using culture and animal models. Most culture models for studying ocular neuroprotection use retinal cells, and a range of mechanisms can be studied in culture, e.g. axotomy and serum or growth factor deprivation.


A variety of animal models are available for studying neuroprotection as possible therapy for glaucomatous optic neuropathy. Those most closely related to glaucoma are probably associated with moderate elevation of the intraocular pressure to levels similar to those seen in patients with untreated glaucomatous optic neuropathy.


Care should be taken when applying the results of these models to humans, and there is no single criterion for deciding which culture or animal model is most relevant to the clinical situation. The most important feature is whether the model's results correlate with clinical results, and this information will only become available over time, as randomized clinical trials are completed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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