23 April 2020
There is indication that nutritional supplements protect retinal cells from degeneration. In a previous study, we demonstrated that dietary supplementation with an association of forskolin, homotaurine, spearmint extract and B vitamins efficiently counteracts retinal dysfunction associated with retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death caused by optic nerve crush. We extended our investigation on the efficacy of dietary supplementation with the use of a mouse model in which RGC degeneration depends as closely as possible on intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation. In this model, injecting the anterior chamber of the eye with methylcellulose (MCE) causes IOP elevation leading to RGC dysfunction. The MCE model was characterized in terms of IOP elevation, retinal dysfunction as determined by electrophysiological recordings, RGC loss as determined by brain-specific homeobox/POU domain protein 3A immunoreactivity and dysregulated levels of inflammatory and apoptotic markers. Except for IOP elevation, dysfunctional retinal parameters were all recovered by dietary supplementation indicating the involvement of non-IOP-related neuroprotective mechanisms of action. Our hypothesis is that the diet supplement may be used to counteract the inflammatory processes triggered by glial cell activation, thus leading to spared RGC loss and the preservation of visual dysfunction. In this respect, the present compound may be viewed as a potential remedy to be added to the currently approved drug therapies for improving RGC protection.