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Prog Brain Res. 2015;220:241-56. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2015.04.005. Epub 2015 Oct 1.

Stem cell approaches to glaucoma: from aqueous outflow modulation to retinal neuroprotection.

Author information

1
John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
2
John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK; Wellcome Trust Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, UK. Electronic address: krgm2@cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

Long-term pharmacological management of glaucoma currently relies on self-administered drugs to regulate intraocular pressure (IOP). A number of approaches using stem cells have recently shown promise as potential future treatment strategies complementary to IOP lowering. Several sources of endogenous stem cells have been identified in the eye, some of which may be able to repair the damaged trabecular meshwork and restore functional regulation of aqueous outflow. Neural and mesenchymal stem cells secrete growth factors which provide neuroprotective effects, reducing loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in animal models. In the future, stem cells may even replace RGCs to reform functional connections between the eye and the brain, although the complexity of such a repair task is formidable. With advances in biomaterial cell scaffolds and concurrent efforts in other neural systems, stem cell therapies are becoming a realistic option for treating multiple eye diseases, and despite ongoing challenges, there are reasons for optimism that stem cells may play a role in the treatment of human glaucoma in the future.

KEYWORDS:

Glaucoma; Neuroprotection; Optic nerve; Replacement; Retina; Stem cells

PMID:
26497794
DOI:
10.1016/bs.pbr.2015.04.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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