Heat Shock Proteins in Experimental Glaucoma

Cynthia Grosskreutz, MD, PhD Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Project Details

Heat shock proteins (HSP) are a group of highly conserved proteins that act in a coordinated response to environmental and physiological stress. It has been recently observed that one member of this protein family, HSP27, is elevated in certain genetic models of glaucoma. Dr. Grosskreutz hopes to discover whether experimentally increasing HSP27 levels in the eye will prevent neuronal death in the retina in glaucoma. She will apply this gene therapy to increase and decrease HSP27 levels in the retina and record changes. Together, these results will provide important new information regarding the role of heat shock proteins in retinal ganglion cell death in glaucoma, and provide clues to new neuroprotective treatment approaches for this blinding disease.