Expression of ion channels during ganglion cell apoptosis. Implications for the pathogenesis of glaucomatous optic neuropathy and relevance for neuroprotective treatment
This study investigates the ability of an epilepsy drug to reduce cell death related to glaucoma.
Loss of vision in glaucoma patients is caused by death of ganglion cells in the retina. Therefore, preventing the death of these cells may preserve vision. To develop a drug to prevent cell death there must be an understanding of this process. The researchers believe that changes in electrical currents may be the 'trigger' that leads to cell death in glaucoma. Preventing these changes may halt cell death and loss of vision. Lamotrigine (used to treat epilepsy) is such an inhibitor. It will be tested in a rat glaucoma model to investigate its effect on the function and structure of the retina, and on molecular and genetic events in the ganglion cells. Positive results may lead to human testing.