OBJECTIVE: N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) excitotoxicity has been proposed to mediate apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in glaucoma. Taurine (TAU) has been shown to have neuroprotective properties, thus we examined anti-apoptotic effect of TAU against retinal damage after NMDA exposure.
METHODOLOGY: Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 5 groups of 33 each. Group 1 was administered intravitreally with PBS and group 2 was similarly injected with NMDA (160 nmol). Groups 3, 4 and 5 were injected with TAU (320 nmol) 24 hours before (pre-treatment), in combination (co-treatment) and 24 hours after (post-treatment) NMDA exposure respectively. Seven days after injection, rats were sacrificed; eyes were enucleated, fixed and processed for morphometric analysis, TUNEL and caspase-3 staining. Optic nerve morphology assessment was done using toluidine blue staining. The estimation of BDNF, pro/anti-apoptotic factors (Bax/Bcl-2) and caspase-3 activity in retina was done using ELISA technique.
RESULTS: Severe degenerative changes were observed in retinae after intravitreal NMDA exposure. The retinal morphology in the TAU pre-treated group appeared more similar to the control retinae and demonstrated a higher number of nuclei than the NMDA group both per 100 μm length (by 1.5-fold, p
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