Meagan Stewart 
Modulation of potential neuroprotective compounds for glaucoma in a retinal ganglion cell culture system

Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are responsible for transmitting visual information from photoreceptors in the retina to visual centers in the brain. Previous research on these cells has exposed their vulnerability to glutamate-induced excitotoxicity, resulting in apoptosis. However, activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) located on RGCs has been shown to protect them from an apoptotic fate. In this study, we attempted to further exploit the protective effects of activated nAChRs by applying a drug modulator in combination with a nAChR agonist to isolated retinal ganglion cells. The cells were then challenged with glutamate and exposed to treatments of various concentrations of agonist and modulator for 3 days. Cell viability was determined with a fluorescent dye. As is the case with much research, our seemingly straightforward protocol has created some inconsistent results. Therefore we have been conducting some troubleshooting to identify the cause before would can consider this project successful. However, its success will potentially lead to more effective treatment(s) of glaucoma.

Faculty Mentor: David Linn

Page last modified July 14, 2009