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Ken-ichiro Miyake, Miho Yoshida, Yoshitsugu Inoue, Yoshio Hata; Neuroprotective Effect of Transcorneal Electrical Stimulation on the Acute Phase of Optic Nerve Injury. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(5):2356-2361. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.06-1329.
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purpose. Traumatic optic neuropathy often induces a loss of vision that proceeds rapidly within several hours, together with retinal ganglion cell death, in a much slower time course. Electrical stimulation has previously been shown to rescue injured retinal ganglion cells from cell death. The present study tests whether transcorneal electrical stimulation could preserve visual function after an optic nerve crush.
methods. Transcorneal electrical stimulation was given immediately after a calibrated optic nerve crush. We measured visually evoked potentials (VEPs) in the visual cortex of rats before and immediately after the optic nerve crush and after the transcorneal stimulation to estimate an extent of damage and effects of stimulation in individual animals. In addition, the retinal axons were labeled with a fluorescent anterograde tracer to determine whether the transcorneal electrical stimulation can protect the retinal axons from degeneration.
results. The optic nerve crush was made at an intensity that does not allow a spontaneous recovery of VEP for 1 week. The transcorneal stimulation immediately increased VEP amplitude impaired by the optic nerve crush, and this augmentation was often preserved after 1 week. In the stimulated animals, a larger amount of retinal axons projected centrally beyond the crushed region in comparison to the unstimulated animals.
conclusions. Transcorneal electrical stimulation would restore the functional impairment of optic nerve by traumatic injury at a very early stage and protect retinal axons from the ensuing degeneration.
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