Purpose: To investigate the effect of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) against neurotoxicity of retinal ganglion cells of rats with chronic moderately elevated intraocular pressure (IOP).
Methods: Unilateral chronic moderately elevated IOP was produced in rats by cautery of three episcleral vessels. Secondary degeneration was measured with and without EGb 761 for 5 months. At 5 months, retinal ganglion cells were labeled with a fast blue tracer applied to both superior colliculi. Densities of surviving retinal ganglion cells were estimated by counting fast blue labeled cells in whole mounted retinas.
Results: When compared with their contralateral control eyes with normal IOP, in the peripheral retina, retinal ganglion cell loss in eyes with chronic, moderately elevated IOP was 29.8 +/- 1.5% (n=5) at 5 months in untreated animals and 4.6 +/- 4.5% (n=5) at 5 months in treated animals with EGb 761.
Conclusions: Pretreatment and early posttreatment with EGb 761 is an effective neuroprotectant in a rat model of chronic glaucoma.