Neurotrophic Mechanisms in Ocular Hypertension Mice

Xiaorong Liu, PhD Northwestern University

Co-Principal Investigators

Liang Feng, PhD Northwestern University


Our primary goal is to investigate how BDNF and NT-3 protect ganglion cells and visual function against IOP elevation. By combining transgenic mouse systems with laser-induced model of OHT, our experimental design allows neurotrophin signaling to be manipulated in vivo and the glaucomatous condition to be achieved at the same time. The results obtained from these experiments will reveal the roles of neurotrophin signaling in shaping retinal structure and visual function in glaucoma.

Project Details

A group of nerve survival factors, called neurotrophins, will be tested in a mouse model of glaucoma to see if they can rescue the structure and function of the optic nerve cells before their death. Dr. Xiaorong Liu and colleagues will use mice with high eye pressure to mimic the human high-tension glaucoma in their tests. They will use genetic techniques to specifically examine how two neurotrophins—called BDNF and NT- 3—contribute to protect retinal cell structure and visual behaviors in mice with high eye pressure. The results will thus provide insight into whether BDNF and NT-3 are good candidates for drug targeting to prevent the optic nerve cell damage that occurs in glaucoma.