International Ophthalmology

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 2553–2562 | Cite as

Comparison of the neuroprotective effects of brimonidine tartrate and melatonin on retinal ganglion cells

  • Deniz MarangozEmail author
  • Elif GuzelEmail author
  • Signem Eyuboglu
  • Asli Gumusel
  • Ismail Seckin
  • Ferda Ciftci
  • Bayram Yilmaz
  • Ilgaz Yalvac
Original Paper



We aimed to compare the neuroprotective effects of brimonidine tartrate (BRT) and melatonin (MEL) on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in a rat glaucoma model.


Thirty-six adult Wistar albino rats were allocated into six groups: control (C), glaucoma (G), BRT, MEL, G + BRT and G + MEL. After establishing the glaucoma model, intraocular pressure (IOP) of all animals measured at day 4 and day 30 was compared statistically with day 0 and day 4, respectively. Prior to sacrification at day 30 for histological evaluation and TUNEL analysis, retrograde labeling of non-apoptotic RGCs with 3% Fluorogold was performed and RGCs were evaluated under fluorescein microscope.


IOP measurements at day 4 were significantly higher than basal measurements in all glaucoma groups. BRT alone induced a time-dependent decrease in IOP (p < 0.05), while MEL alone failed to reduce IOP. However, both BRT and MEL reduced IOP in the presence of glaucoma at day 30 (p < 0.05). BRT treatment significantly reversed the reduced non-apoptotic RGC counts (p < 0.01) and increased TUNEL-positive RGCs (p < 0.001) to control group levels in the presence of glaucoma. However, no statistical significance was found between groups G and G + MEL considering 3% Fluorogold-labeled cell counts and apoptotic index values.


Our study revealed that systemic administration of BRT also has an IOP reducing effect. MEL has no neuroprotective effect on RGCs; on the other hand, BRT acts as a neuroprotective agent against glaucomatous injury, when applied systemically.


Glaucoma Neuroprotection Retinal ganglion cell Melatonin Brimonidine tartrate 



We would like to express our sincere thanks toward Elif Cigdem Kaspar who devoted her time and knowledge in statistical analysis of the project.


Council of Science and Research, Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine funded this study. (Grant number: 68774383-001/1076).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Study protocol was approved by Yeditepe University Ethics Committee for Animal Studies and Research. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of Animal Studies Research Laboratory, Yeditepe University, at which the studies were conducted.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of MedicineYeditepe UniversityBeşiktaş-IstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Histology and EmbryologyCerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul UniversityFatih-IstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineYeditepe UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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