Neurotrophic Factors and Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival In Vitro
Certain neurotrophic factors (NTF) have been implicated in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) development and survival and may be involved in RGC loss during glaucoma. Dr. Hicks is screening for the expression of specific NTFs (the neurotrophins and the fibroblast growth factors) and their receptors in primary cultures of RGCs from porcine and human retinas and in post-mortem human adult eye tissue. He will determine which ligand/receptors have the ability to stimulate RGC survival and neurite regrowth and also identify the signaling pathways involved. He will also examine fixed human tissue from normal and glaucomatous eyes. It is believed that the determination of which NTFs influence the survival of RGCs will have a significant impact on the treatment of glaucoma.