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Chonnam Med J. 2012 Aug;48(2):116-22. doi: 10.4068/cmj.2012.48.2.116. Epub 2012 Aug 24.

The effect of melatonin on retinal ganglion cell survival in ischemic retina.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Medical School & Research Institute of Medical Science, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.


Our objective was to determine whether melatonin increases retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival in ischemic mouse retina. Transient retinal ischemia was induced by an acute elevation of intraocular pressure in C57BL/6 mice. To evaluate the effect of melatonin on retinal ischemia, an equal amount of either melatonin or vehicle was intraperitoneally injected into the mice 1 hour before ischemia, at the time of ischemia, and 1 hour after ischemia. Hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression were assessed 6, 12, and 24 hours after ischemia-reperfusion by Western blot. RGC survival was measured 2 weeks after ischemia-reperfusion. The expression of HIF-1α and GFAP peaked 24 hours after ischemia-reperfusion in ischemic retina. The treatment of ischemic retina with melatonin resulted in the inhibition of increased expression of HIF-1α and GFAP. RGC survival was greater in retinas treated with melatonin than in retinas treated with vehicle 2 weeks after ischemia-reperfusion. On the basis of our results, we suggest that melatonin treatment increased RGC survival in ischemic mouse retina. The neuroprotective effect of melatonin is mediated by the inhibition of HIF-1α stabilization and reduced activity of glial cells in ischemic mouse retina.


Glaucoma; Ischemia; Melatonin; Neuroprotection

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