Pharmacological strategies related to ocular neuroprotection

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Abstract

Ocular neuroprotection is a novel approach in the treatment of eye diseases, aiming to prevent or at least slow down loss of retinal neurons to avoid disease progression. Although ocular neurodegenerative diseases differ in their pathogenetic properties and risk factors from cerebral diseases, mechanisms behind neurodegeneration and cell death show similarities. As such, several new anti-apoptotic agents, targeting the different mechanisms to induce neuronal cell death have been introduced in the last years. These mechanisms include but are not limited to excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and subclinical inflammation. From a clinical side of view the most commonly used target for neuroprotecive therapy in the past was glutamate excitotoxicity. As glutamate excitotoxicity is among the most important mechanisms to trigger cell death, much emphasis has been put into the development of glutamate antagonists. However, the clinical results of interventions studies fell short of expectations and other strategies came into focus of research. The talk aims to summarize the most promising pharmacological neuroprotective strategies.

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