Raoul Torero Ibad, Jinguen Rheey, Sarah Mrejen, Valérie Forster, Serge Picaud, Alain Prochiantz and Kenneth Moya in the Prochiantz Research Group have published a recent paper in The Journal of Neuroscience, Otx2 Promotes the Survival of Damaged Adult Retinal Ganglion Cells and Protects against Excitotoxic Loss of Visual Acuity In Vivo shows that Otx2 can stimulate survival of retinal ganglion cells in vitro and can also protect mouse retinal ganglion cells against NMDA mediated toxicity in vivo. Interestingly, Otx2 in the mouse model also appears to preserve visual acuity.
The implications of this work for significant from a number of pathological perspectives. Human blinding conditions such as glaucoma, potentially ischemic optic neuropathy (though there is considerable debate there) and certainly optic nerve trauma are all diseases or pathological insults that involve ganglion cell loss in those patients. Being able to slow down, prolong or prevent ganglion cell death in disorders where they can be compromised can lead to preservation of vision.