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A M el-Asrar, P H Morse, D Maimone, E Torczynski, A T Reder; MK-801 protects retinal neurons from hypoxia and the toxicity of glutamate and aspartate.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1992;33(12):3463-3468.
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The protective effect of the anticonvulsant MK-801 and the antitussive dextromethorphan, which are both N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists, and kynurenic acid, a broad-spectrum excitotoxin antagonist, was tested in cultured rat retinal cells in an hypoxic environment. The protective effect of these antagonists also was tested in cultured retinal cells and in intact adult rat retinas exposed to the exogenous excitotoxins L-glutamic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid. MK-801 and kynurenic acid protected retinal neurons from hypoxic damage and from the toxicity of exogenous L-glutamic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid. Dextromethorphan, a less potent antagonist, did not protect the retinal neurons from hypoxic damage or the toxicity of exogenous L-glutamic acid, but did attenuate N-methyl-D-aspartate toxicity. These results provide evidence that the synaptic release of excitatory transmitters, most likely glutamate and aspartate, mediate the death of hypoxic retinal neurons. Compounds related to MK-801 may have possible therapeutic applications in the management of retinal ischemia.
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