Student Summer Scholars Manuscripts


Neuroprotection, glaucoma, nicotinic receptors, acetylcholine, cell culture, cell survival


Medicine and Health Sciences




Glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease, is a leading cause of blindness. In previous research, it has been shown that activation of α7 nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) can provide neuroprotection. Hypothetically, if one increased the amount of ACh released more nAChRs should be activated to provide neuroprotection in the eye. Past S^3 work has shown DMP 543 can increase the release of ACh in a pig eye-­‐cup and in our ‘retina in a dish’ model. DMP 543 was originally developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease by increasing the release of ACh in the brain to compensate for the loss of cholinergic neurons. For this S^3 project, we want to further examine what receptors are activated in the ‘retina in a dish’ model when DMP 543 is added to the dissociated cell culture. In addition to investigating the role of α7 nAChRs, we are extending our investigation to examine if α4β2 receptors play a significant role in the neuroprotection observed in our culture system.