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J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2016 Apr-Jun;11(2):209-20. doi: 10.4103/2008-322X.183923.

Neuroprotection in Glaucoma.

Author information

1
Ophthalmic Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
2
Ocular Tissue Engineering Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Glaucoma is a degenerative optic neuropathy characterized by retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss and visual field defects. It is known that in some glaucoma patients, death of RGCs continues despite intraocular pressure (IOP) reduction. Neuroprotection in the field of glaucoma is defined as any treatment, independent of IOP reduction, which prevents RGC death. Glutamate antagonists, ginkgo biloba extract, neurotrophic factors, antioxidants, calcium channel blockers, brimonidine, glaucoma medications with blood regulatory effect and nitric oxide synthase inhibitors are among compounds with possible neuroprotective activity in preclinical studies. A few agents (such as brimonidine or memantine) with neuroprotective effects in experimental studies have advanced to clinical trials; however the results of clinical trials for these agents have not been conclusive. Nevertheless, lack of compelling clinical evidence has not prevented the off-label use of some of these compounds in glaucoma practice. Stem cell transplantation has been reported to halt experimental neurodegenerative disease processes in the absence of cell replacement. It has been hypothesized that transplantation of some types of stem cells activates multiple neuroprotective pathways via secretion of various factors. The advantage of this approach is a prolonged and targeted effect. Important concerns in this field include the secretion of unwanted harmful mediators, graft survival issues and tumorigenesis. Neuroprotection in glaucoma, pharmacologically or by stem cell transplantation, is an interesting subject waiting for broad and multidisciplinary collaborative studies to better clarify its role in clinical practice.

KEYWORDS:

Brimonidine; Ginkgo Biloba Extract; Glaucoma; Memantine; Neuroprotection; Stem Cell Transplantation

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