Edaravone suppresses retinal ganglion cell death in a mouse model of normal tension glaucoma

Cell Death Dis. 2017 Jul 13;8(7):e2934. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2017.341.


Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness, is characterized by progressive degeneration of optic nerves and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). In the mammalian retina, excitatory amino-acid carrier 1 (EAAC1) is expressed in neural cells, including RGCs. Loss of EAAC1 leads to RGC degeneration without elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and exhibits glaucomatous pathology including glutamate neurotoxicity and oxidative stress. In the present study, we found that edaravone, a free radical scavenger that is used for treatment of acute brain infarction and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), reduces oxidative stress and prevents RGC death and thinning of the inner retinal layer in EAAC1-deficient (KO) mice. In addition, in vivo electrophysiological analyses demonstrated that visual impairment in EAAC1 KO mice was ameliorated with edaravone treatment, clearly establishing that edaravone beneficially affects both histological and functional aspects of the glaucomatous retina. Our findings raise intriguing possibilities for the management of glaucoma by utilizing a widely prescribed drug for the treatment of acute brain infarction and ALS, edaravone, in combination with conventional treatments to lower IOP.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipyrine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Antipyrine / pharmacology
  • Antipyrine / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Edaravone
  • Electroretinography
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3 / deficiency
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3 / genetics
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Low Tension Glaucoma / metabolism
  • Low Tension Glaucoma / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Retina / diagnostic imaging
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / drug effects*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Vision Disorders / prevention & control


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Slc1a1 protein, mouse
  • Edaravone
  • Antipyrine