PURPOSE. To assess the neuroprotective effect of virally mediated overexpression of ciliary-derived neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in experimental rat glaucoma. METHODS. Laser-induced glaucoma was produced in one eye of 224 Wistar rats after injection of adenoassociated viral vectors (type 2) containing either CNTF, BDNF, or both, with saline-injected eyes and noninjected glaucomatous eyes serving as the control. IOP was measured with a hand-held tonometer, and semiautomated optic nerve axon counts were performed by masked observers. IOP exposure over time was adjusted in multivariate regression analysis to calculate the effect of CNTF and BDNF. RESULTS. By multivariate regression, CNTF had a significant protective effect, with 15% less RGC axon death (P≤0.01).Both combined CNTF-BDNF and BDNF overexpression alone had no statistically significant improvement in RGC axon sur-vival. By Western blot, there was a quantitative increase in CNTF and BDNF expression in retinas exposed to single viral vectors carrying each gene, but no increase with sequential injection of both vectors. CONCLUSIONS. These data confirm that CNTF can exert a pro-tective effect in experimental glaucoma. The reason for the lack of observed effect in the BDNF overexpression groups is unclear, but it may be a function of the level of neurotrophin expression achieved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience