Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. The long-term outcome of neuroprotection as a therapeutic strategy for preventing cell death in neurodegenerative disorders remains unknown, primarily due to slow disease progression and the inherent difficulty of assessing neuronal survival in vivo. Employing a murine model of retinal disease, we demonstrate that ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) confers life-long protection against photoreceptor degeneration. Repetitive retinal imaging allowed the survival of intrinsically fluorescent cone photoreceptors to be quantified in vivo. Imaging of the visual cortex and assessment of visually-evoked behavioral responses demonstrated that surviving cones retain function and signal correctly to the brain. The mechanisms underlying CNTF-mediated neuroprotection were explored through transcriptome analysis, revealing widespread upregulation of proteolysis inhibitors, which may prevent cellular/extracellular matrix degradation and complement activation in neurodegenerative diseases. These findings provide insights into potential novel therapeutic avenues for diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, for which CNTF has been evaluated unsuccessfully in clinical trials.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/mt.2015.68

Type

Journal article

Journal

Molecular Therapy

Publication Date

01/08/2015

Volume

23

Pages

1308 - 1319