The retina is theater of a number of biochemical reactions allowing, within its layers, the conversion of light impulses into electrical signals. The axons of the last neuronal elements, the ganglion cells, form the optic nerve and transfer the signals to the brain. Therefore, an appropriate cellular communication, not only within the different retinal cells, but also between the retina itself and the other brain structures, is fundamental. One of the most diffuse pathologies affecting retinal function and communication, which thus reverberates in the whole visual system, is glaucoma. This insidious disease is characterized by a progressive optic nerve degeneration and sight loss which may finally lead to irreversible blindness. Nevertheless, the progressive nature of this pathology offers an opportunity for therapeutic intervention. To better understand the cellular processes implicated in the development of glaucoma useful to envision a targeted pharmacological strategy, this manuscript first examines the complex cellular and functional organization of the retina and subsequently identifies the targets sensitive to neurodegeneration. Within this context, high ocular pressure represents a key risk factor. However, recent literature findings highlight the concept that lowering ocular pressure is not enough to prevent/slow down glaucomatous damage, suggesting the importance of combining the hypotensive treatment with other pharmacological approaches, such as the use of neuroprotectants. Therefore, this important and more novel aspect is extensively considered in this review, also emphasizing the idea that the neuroprotective strategy should be extended to the entire visual system and not restricted to the retina.
|Titolo:||Protecting the retinal neurons from glaucoma: Lowering ocular pressure is not enough.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|