Taurine is a crucial factor to preserve retinal ganglion cell survival.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology, January 2013
Froger N, Jammoul F, Gaucher D, Cadetti L, Lorach H, Degardin J, Pain D, Dubus E, Forster V, Ivkovic I, Simonutti M, Sahel JA, Picaud S, Nicolas Froger, Firas Jammoul, David Gaucher, Lucia Cadetti, Henri Lorach, Julie Degardin, Dorothée Pain, Elisabeth Dubus, Valérie Forster, Ivana Ivkovic, Manuel Simonutti, José-Alain Sahel, Serge Picaud
Abdeslem El Idrissi, William J. L'Amoreaux
Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are spiking neurons, which send visual information to the brain, through the optic nerve. RGC degeneration occurs in retinal diseases, either as a primary process or secondary to photoreceptor loss. Mechanisms involved in this neuronal degeneration are still unclear and no drugs directly targeting RGC neuroprotection are yet available. Here, we show that taurine is one factor involved in preserving the RGC survival. Indeed, a taurine depletion induced by the antiepileptic drug, vigabatrin, was incriminated in its retinal toxicity leading to the RGC loss. Similarly, we showed that RGC degeneration can be induced by pharmacologically blocking the taurine-transporter with the chronic administration of a selective inhibitor, which results in a decrease in the taurine levels both in the plasma and in the retinal tissue. Finally, we found that taurine can directly prevent RGC degeneration, occurring either in serum-deprived pure RGC cultures or in animal models presenting an RGC loss (glaucomatous rats and the P23H rats, a model for retinitis pigmentosa). These data suggest that the retinal taurine level is a crucial marker to prevent RGC damage in major retinal diseases.
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