Taurine Is a Crucial Factor to Preserve Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival
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.
KeywordsRetinal Ganglion Cell Retinitis Pigmentosa Taurine Supplementation Retinal Toxicity Taurine Level
Retinal ganglion cell(s)
Days in vitro
We would like to thank Bernard Gilly, Pierre Belichard, Didier Pruneau, Annabelle Amiard, Marie-Laure Bouttier (Fovea Pharma), Olivier Lorentz, Katia Marazova (Fondation voir et Entendre), Gordon Fain (University of California Los Angeles), Alain Bron (Ophthalmology department, Dijon) and Jean-François Legargasson (Hôpital Lariboisière) for help and comments. We are grateful to Dr Matthew Lavail for providing the P23H rat line. This work was supported by INSERM, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), Fondation Ophtalmologique A. de Rothschild (Paris), Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR: GLAUCOME), European Community (contrat TREATRUSH no HEALTH-F2-2010-242013), Fédération des Aveugles de France, IRRP, the city of Paris and the Regional Council of Ile-de-France. LC and NF received fellowships from the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale and Fondation Bailly.
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