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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2013, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (4): 233-240.doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013037

Special Issue: Traditional Chinese Medicine

• Review •     Next Articles

Research advances on the usage of traditional Chinese medicine for neuroprotection in glaucoma

Xue-song Mia,b, Jing-xiang Zhonga, Raymond Chuen-Chung Changb,c, Kwok-Fai Sob,c()   

  1. a. Department of Ophthalmology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510630,Guangdong Province, China
    b. Department of Anatomy, and the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Li Ka ShingFaculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
    c. Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Institute of Central Neural System Regeneration, Jinan University,Guangzhou 510630, Guangdong Province, China
  • Received:2013-01-30 Accepted:2013-04-08 Online:2013-07-10 Published:2013-07-15

Progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their axons is the main pathogenesis of glaucoma. The cause of glaucoma is not fully understood, but the neurodegeneration of glaucoma involves many mechanisms such as oxidative stress, glutamate toxicity and ischemia/reperfusion insult. In order to target these mechanisms, multiple neuroprotective interventions have been investigated to prevent the death of RGCs. Of note are some tonic herbs from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pharmacopeia that have shown neuroprotective effects in glaucoma. TCM differs from Western medicine in that TCM exhibits complicated bioactive components, triggering many signaling pathways and extensive actions on vital organs. Modern scientific approaches have demonstrated some of their underlying mechanisms. In this review, we used Lycium barbarum and Ginkgo biloba as examples to elaborate the characteristics of TCM and their potential applications in neuroprotection in glaucoma.

Key words: Neuroprotection, Neuroprotective agents, Traditional Chinese medicine, Glaucoma, Review

Figure 1

Neurovascular dysregulation and neuroprotective mechanisms of LBP When challenged by external stress or insult, LBP protected RGCs directly by reducing the cytotoxicity on RGCs (ET-1 and Aβ), and indirectly by inhibiting the damage of BRB and modulating retinal gliosis. LBP: polysaccharide of Lycium barbarum; RGCs: retinal ganglion cells; ET-1: endothelin-1; Aβ: amyloid-β; BRB: blood retinal barriers."

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