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Mantelli F.,IRCCS Fondazione GB Bietti of Rome | Lambiase A.,Biomedical University of Rome | Colafrancesco V.,National Research Council Italy | Rocco M.L.,National Research Council Italy | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Ophthalmology | Year: 2014

Purpose: To investigate if the survival effects of nerve growth factor (NGF) eyedrops on retinal ganglion cell (RGCs) are related to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in a rat model of diabetic retinopathy. Methods: Diabetes was induced in adult rats by streptozotocin injection and changes in the NGF/ TrkA and VEGF retina levels were related to the progression of RGC loss. Diabetic rats were subjected to administration of NGF eyedrops or intraocular injection of anti-NGF antibody. All morphologic, immunohistochemical, and biochemical analyses were performed on whole retinas dissected after 7 or 11 weeks after diabetes induction. Results: Diabetes was successfully induced in rats as shown by glycemic levels >250 mg/dL. The NGF levels increased in diabetic retinas at 7 weeks and decreased at 11 weeks, while VEGF levels increased at all time points. The RGC loss in diabetic retinopathy worsened with anti-NGF administration, which did not alter retina VEGF levels significantly. Administration of NGF eyedrops restored TrkA levels in the retina, and protected RGCs from degeneration without influencing VEGF levels. Conclusions: The early increase of NGF in diabetic retina might be an endogenous response for protecting RGCs from degeneration. This protective mechanism is impaired at 11 weeks following diabetes induction, and results in a marked RGC degeneration that is improved by exogenous NGF administration and worsened by anti-NGF. The observed NGF-induced neuroprotection on damaged RGCs was not associated with changes in VEGF retina levels, which were constantly high in diabetic rats and were not altered by anti-NGF administration. © 2013 Wichtig Editore.

Mantelli F.,IRCCS Fondazione GB Bietti of Rome | Massaro-Giordano M.,University of Pennsylvania | Macchi I.,Biomedical University of Rome | Lambiase A.,Biomedical University of Rome | Bonini S.,Biomedical University of Rome
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2013

Dry eye is a complex disease characterized by changes in the ocular surface epithelia related to reduced quality and/or quantity of tears, inflammatory reaction, and impairment of ocular surface sensitivity. It has recently been proposed that increased tear osmolarity represents a main trigger to the altered cellular mechanisms leading to epithelial damage in dry eye. However, dry eye pathogenesis is multifactorial, with cytotoxic inflammatory mediators, altered lacrimal gland secretion and nerve function, squamous metaplasia of the conjunctival epithelium and decrease of goblet cells density, all playing a role in a detrimental loop that perpetuates and worsens damage to the corneal and conjunctival epithelia. Current topical treatments for dry eye patients include the use of lubricants and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, lubricants only improve symptoms temporarily, and chronic use of topical steroids is associated to severe ocular side effects such as cataract and glaucoma. The deeper understanding of the cellular mechanisms that are altered in dry eye is opening novel perspectives for patients and physicians, who are seeking treatments capable not only of improving symptoms but also of restoring the homeostasis of the ocular surface. In this review, we will focus on novel anti-inflammatory agents and on nerve growth factor, a neurotrophin that is altered in dry eye and has been suggested as a main player in the neuroimmune cross-talk of the ocular surface as well as in the stimulation of corneal sensitivity, epithelial proliferation and differentiation, and stimulation of mucin production by goblet cells. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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