Exogenous modulation of intrinsic optic nerve neuroprotective activity

  • Sinisa D. GrozdanicEmail author
  • Tatjana Lazic
  • Markus H. Kuehn
  • Matthew M. Harper
  • Randy H. Kardon
  • Young H. Kwon
  • Erin B. Lavik
  • Donald S. Sakaguchi
Basic Science



To characterize the molecular and functional status of the rat retina and optic nerve after acute elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP).


Retinal ischemia was induced in rats by increasing the IOP (110 mmHg/60 minutes). Microarray analysis, quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry were used to characterize retinal tissue. PLGA microspheres containing neurotrophic factors (BDNF, GDNF, or CNTF) or empty microspheres were injected into the vitreous of operated animals 1 day after elevation of IOP. Pupil light reflex (PLR) parameters and electroretinograms (ERG) were monitored at multiple time points during the 60-day postoperative recovery period.


Molecular analysis showed a significant intrinsic up-regulation of CNTF at 10 and 25 days after induction of the acute ocular hypertension (p = 0.0067). Molecular tissue analysis of GDNF and its receptors (GDNFR1, GDNFR2), and BDNF and its receptor (trkB) showed no change in expression. Animals that received CNTF microspheres had no significant functional recovery compared to animals which received blank microspheres (p > 0.05). Animals that received GDNF or BDNF microspheres showed significant PLR recovery (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001 respectively) compared to non-treated animals.


Continuous release of neurotrophic growth factors (NGFs) significantly protects optic nerve function in the experimental model of retinal ischemia observed by PLR analysis.


Neuroprotection Retina BDNF GDNF CNTF 



We would like to thank Dr Sally Hildreth and Mr Jeff Orasky for the help with experiment performance. This work was supported in part by Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Grant C3919R, The Glaucoma Foundation, NY, an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness (Dept. of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa), NIH NS044007, NIH EY019485, NIH EY019294 and ISU Biotechnology Carver Trust Grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sinisa D. Grozdanic
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Tatjana Lazic
    • 1
    • 4
  • Markus H. Kuehn
    • 3
    • 4
  • Matthew M. Harper
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Randy H. Kardon
    • 3
    • 4
  • Young H. Kwon
    • 3
  • Erin B. Lavik
    • 5
  • Donald S. Sakaguchi
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary MedicineIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology and the Neuroscience ProgramIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ophthalmology and Visual SciencesUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa CityUSA
  4. 4.United States Veterans Affairs Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual LossVA Medical CenterIowa CityUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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