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Neuroprotection, Growth Factors and BDNF-TrkB Signalling in Retinal Degeneration

Visual Research Project, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, 2-1-6 Kamikitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8506, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Margaret Fahnestock and Keri Martinowich
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1584;
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 1 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotrophic Factors—Historical Perspective and New Directions)
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Neurotrophic factors play key roles in the development and survival of neurons. The potent neuroprotective effects of neurotrophic factors, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF), suggest that they are good therapeutic candidates for neurodegenerative diseases. Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease of the eye that causes irreversible blindness. It is characterized by damage to the optic nerve, usually due to high intraocular pressure (IOP), and progressive degeneration of retinal neurons called retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Current therapy for glaucoma focuses on reduction of IOP, but neuroprotection may also be beneficial. BDNF is a powerful neuroprotective agent especially for RGCs. Exogenous application of BDNF to the retina and increased BDNF expression in retinal neurons using viral vector systems are both effective in protecting RGCs from damage. Furthermore, induction of BDNF expression by agents such as valproic acid has also been beneficial in promoting RGC survival. In this review, we discuss the therapeutic potential of neurotrophic factors in retinal diseases and focus on the differential roles of glial and neuronal TrkB in neuroprotection. We also discuss the role of neurotrophic factors in neuroregeneration. View Full-Text
Keywords: BDNF; TrkB; retinal degeneration; glaucoma; neuroprotection; valproic acid BDNF; TrkB; retinal degeneration; glaucoma; neuroprotection; valproic acid

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kimura, A.; Namekata, K.; Guo, X.; Harada, C.; Harada, T. Neuroprotection, Growth Factors and BDNF-TrkB Signalling in Retinal Degeneration. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1584.

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