Neurotrophic factor delivery as a protective treatment for glaucoma

Exp Eye Res. 2011 Aug;93(2):196-203. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2010.05.016. Epub 2010 Jun 1.


Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy and a major cause of visual impairment worldwide. Neuroprotective therapies for glaucoma aim to ameliorate retinal ganglion cell degeneration through direct or indirect action on these neurons. Neurotrophic factor (NTF) delivery is a key target for the development of potential neuroprotective glaucoma treatments. This article will critically summarize the evidence that NTF deprivation and/or dysfunction plays a role in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Experimental support for the neuroprotective potential of NTF supplementation in animal models of glaucoma will be reviewed, in particular for brain-derived neurotrophic factor, ciliary neurotrophic factor, and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor. Finally, the challenges of clinical translation will be considered with an emphasis on the most promising NTF delivery strategies including slow-release drug delivery, gene therapy, and cell transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Glaucoma / etiology
  • Glaucoma / therapy*
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / etiology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / therapy*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factors
  • Nerve Growth Factors