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PLOS ONE  2011 

Ischemic Tolerance Protects the Rat Retina from Glaucomatous Damage

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023763

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Glaucoma is a leading cause of acquired blindness which may involve an ischemic-like insult to retinal ganglion cells and optic nerve head. We investigated the effect of a weekly application of brief ischemia pulses (ischemic conditioning) on the rat retinal damage induced by experimental glaucoma. Glaucoma was induced by weekly injections of chondroitin sulfate (CS) in the rat eye anterior chamber. Retinal ischemia was induced by increasing intraocular pressure to 120 mmHg for 5 min; this maneuver started after 6 weekly injections of vehicle or CS and was weekly repeated in one eye, while the contralateral eye was submitted to a sham procedure. Glaucoma was evaluated in terms of: i) intraocular pressure (IOP), ii) retinal function (electroretinogram (ERG)), iii) visual pathway function (visual evoked potentials, (VEPs)) iv) histology of the retina and optic nerve head. Retinal thiobarbituric acid substances levels were assessed as an index of lipid peroxidation. Ischemic conditioning significantly preserved ERG, VEPs, as well as retinal and optic nerve head structure from glaucomatous damage, without changes in IOP. Moreover, ischemia pulses abrogated the increase in lipid peroxidation induced by experimental glaucoma. These results indicate that induction of ischemic tolerance could constitute a fertile avenue for the development of new therapeutic strategies in glaucoma treatment.


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