Antioxidant Treatment Limits Neuroinflammation in Experimental Glaucoma

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Apr 1;57(4):2344-54. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-19153.


Purpose: Besides primary neurotoxicity, oxidative stress may compromise the glial immune regulation and shift the immune homeostasis toward neurodegenerative inflammation in glaucoma. We tested this hypothesis through the analysis of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative outcomes in mouse glaucoma using two experimental paradigms of decreased or increased oxidative stress.

Methods: The first experimental paradigm tested the effects of Tempol, a multifunctional antioxidant, given through osmotic mini-pumps for drug delivery by constant infusion. Following a 6-week treatment period after microbead/viscoelastic injection-induced ocular hypertension, retina and optic nerve samples were analyzed for markers of oxidative stress and cytokine profiles using specific bioassays. We also analyzed a redox-sensitive transcriptional regulator of neuroinflammation, namely NF-κB. The second paradigm included a similar analysis of the effects of overloaded oxidative stress on retina and optic nerve inflammation in mice knockout for a major antioxidant enzyme (SOD1(-/-)).

Results: Increased antioxidant capacity and decreased protein carbonyls and HNE adducts with Tempol treatment verified the drug delivery and biological function. Among a range of cytokines measured, proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-1, IL-2, IFN-γ, and TNF-α, exhibited more than 2-fold decreased titers in Tempol-treated ocular hypertensive eyes. Antioxidant treatment also resulted in a prominent decrease in NF-κB activation in the ocular hypertensive retina and optic nerve. Although pharmacological treatment limiting the oxidative stress resulted in decreased neuroinflammation, ocular hypertension-induced neuroinflammatory responses were increased in SOD1(-/-) mice with defective antioxidant response.

Conclusions: These findings support the oxidative stress-related mechanisms of neuroinflammation and the potential of antioxidant treatment as an immunomodulation strategy for neuroprotection in glaucoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cyclic N-Oxides / administration & dosage
  • Cyclic N-Oxides / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Glaucoma / drug therapy*
  • Glaucoma / pathology
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NF-kappa B / analysis
  • Ocular Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Optic Nerve / chemistry
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Retina / chemistry
  • Retina / pathology
  • Spin Labels


  • Antioxidants
  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Spin Labels
  • tempol