Our group has shown that the polysaccharides extracted from Lycium barbarum (LBP) are neuroprotective for retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in different animal models. Protecting RGCs from secondary degeneration is a promising direction for therapy in glaucoma management. The complete optic nerve transection (CONT) model can be used to study primary degeneration of RGCs, while the partial optic nerve transection (PONT) model can be used to study secondary degeneration of RGCs because primary degeneration of RGCs and secondary degeneration can be separated in location in the same retina in this model; in other situations, these types of degeneration can be difficult to distinguish. In order to examine which kind of degeneration LBP could delay, both CONT and PONT models were used in this study. Rats were fed with LBP or vehicle daily from 7 days before surgery until sacrifice at different time-points and the surviving numbers of RGCs were evaluated. The expression of several proteins related to inflammation, oxidative stress, and the c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways were detected with Western-blot analysis. LBP did not delay primary degeneration of RGCs after either CONT or PONT, but it did delay secondary degeneration of RGCs after PONT. We found that LBP appeared to exert these protective effects by inhibiting oxidative stress and the JNK/c-jun pathway and by transiently increasing production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This study suggests that LBP can delay secondary degeneration of RGCs and this effect may be linked to inhibition of oxidative stress and the JNK/c-jun pathway in the retina.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)