[Ita:]Vision loss in glaucoma is caused by progressive dysfunction of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and optic nerve atrophy. Here, we investigated the effectiveness of BDNF treatment to preserve vision in a glaucoma experimental model. As an established experimental model, we used the DBA/2J mouse, which develops chronic intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation that mimics primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). IOP was measured at different ages in DBA/2J mice. Visual function was monitored using the steady-state Pattern Electroretinogram (P-ERG) and visual cortical evoked potentials (VEP). RGC alterations were assessed using Brn3 immunolabeling, and confocal microscope analysis. Human recombinant BDNF was dissolved in physiological solution (0.9% NaCl); the effects of repeated intravitreal injections and topical eye BDNF applications were independently evaluated in DBA/2J mice with ocular hypertension. BDNF level was measured in retinal homogenate by ELISA and western blot. We found a progressive decline of P-ERG and VEP responses in DBA/2J mice between 4 and 7 months of age, in relationship with the development of ocular hypertension and the reduction of Brn3 immunopositive RGCs. Conversely, repeated intravitreal injections (BDNF concentration = 2 µg/µl, volume = 1 µl, for each injection; 1 injection every four days, three injections over two weeks) and topical eye application of BDNF eye-drops (12 µg/µl, 5 µl eye-drop every 48 h for two weeks) were able to rescue visual responses in 7 month DBA/2J mice. In particular, BDNF topical eye treatment recovered P-ERG and VEP impairment increasing the number of Brn3 immunopositive RGCs. We showed that BDNF effects were independent of IOP reduction. Thus, topical eye treatment with BDNF represents a promisingly safe and feasible strategy to preserve visual function and diminish RGC vulnerability to ocular hypertension.
- Retinal Function
- retinal ganglion cells