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M Ettaiche, K Fillacier, C Widmann, C Heurteaux, M Lazdunski; Riluzole improves functional recovery after ischemia in the rat retina.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(3):729-736.
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PURPOSE: Retinal ischemia leads to neuronal death. The effects of riluzole, a drug that protects against the deleterious effect of cerebral ischemia by acting on several types of ion channels and blocking glutamatergic neurotransmission, were investigated in a rat model of retinal ischemic injury. METHODS: Retinal ischemia was induced by increasing intraocular pressure above systolic blood pressure for 30 minutes. Electroretinograms were recorded before ischemia and at different periods of reperfusion. Riluzole was injected or topically applied to the eye before or after ischemia and twice daily during the reperfusion period. Retinas were harvested for histopathology (toluidine blue and silver-impregnation stainings, Tdt-dUTP terminal nick-end labeling [TUNEL] method) and immunohistochemistry for cytoskeletal glial fibrillary acid protein and c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (p-JNK). RESULTS: Ischemia for 30 minutes caused a reduction of a- and b-waves of the electroretinogram. Systemic and topical treatments with riluzole significantly enhanced the recovery of the reduced a- and b-waves after defined reperfusion times. Riluzole also prevented or attenuated ischemia-induced retinal cell death (necrosis and apoptosis) and reduced the activation of p-JNK, c-jun phosphorylation, and the increase of cytoskeletal proteins induced by ischemic injury. CONCLUSIONS: Riluzole acted in vivo as a potent neuroprotective agent against pressure-induced ischemia. Therefore, riluzole may be a major drug for use in protection against retinal injury.
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