Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) is one of the most studied neurotrophic factors for neuroprotection of the retina. A large body of evidence demonstrates that CNTF promotes rod photoreceptor survival in almost all animal models. Recent studies indicate that CNTF also promotes cone photoreceptor survival and cone outer segment regeneration in the degenerating retina and improves cone function in dogs with congenital achromotopsia. In addition, CNTF is a neuroprotective factor and an axogenesis factor for retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). This review focuses on the effects of exogenous CNTF on photoreceptors and RGCs in the mammalian retina and the potential clinical application of CNTF for retinal degenerative diseases.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.