Gangliosides and neurotrophic growth factors in the retina: Molecular interactions and applications as neuroprotective agents

Henri Dreyfus, José Sahel, Valérie Heidinger, Saddek Mohand-Said, Bernard Guérold, Emmanuelle Meuillet, Valérie Fontaine, David Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Polypeptide growth factors and gangliosides can both be considered as trophic agents involved in almost all stages of neural cell development, differentiation, survival, and pathology. In most cases their physiological roles are still not clear due to the considerable complexity in their regulation. Several growth factors [e.g., basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF)] and one species of ganglioside (GM1) have been shown to exert interactions with each other and also to exhibit neuroprotective effects against retinal ischemia in vivo and cerebral excitotoxicity in vitro. Different experimental models are used to investigate their relevance to ischemic and excitotoxic conditions in the retina, and it is shown that (1) both bFGF and EGF show very effective neuroprotection for rat retinal neurones exposed to toxic levels of glutamate or its nonph) siological agonist kainate in vitro; (2) GM1 (10-5 M) used under the same conditions does not afford protection; (3) retinal glial cells also suffer morphological perturbations following glutamate or kainate treatment, but this effect is dependent on neuron-glial interactions, indicating the existence of intermediate neuron-derived messenger molecules; (4) these glial changes can be corrected by posttreatment with either bFGF or EGF in vitro; (5) using an in vivo animal model involving anterior chamber pressure-induced ischemia in adult rats, it is shown that either pretreatment by intraperitoneal injection of GM1, or posttreatment by intraocular injection of the same ganglioside, reduces significantly histological damage to inner nuclear regions; and (6) in cultured retinal Müller glial cells the existence of molecular and metabolic interactions between both types of trophic factors is demonstrated. Hence both these groups of trophic molecules show interesting features for retinal ischemic treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-252
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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