Schwann Cell-Mediated Preservation of Vision in Retinal Degenerative Diseases via the Reduction of Oxidative Stress: A Possible Mechanism



After central nervous system (CNS) injuries, the regeneration process does not work out well except for remyelination process. This remyelination capacity in CNS can be mentioned as a worthy example of stem/precursor cell-mediated renewal process. Remyelination in CNS is mediated by Schwann cells which act mainly as remyelinating agents in peripheral nervous system (PNS) but several studies have shown their potential role in CNS too. Schwann cells have the capacity of supporting and saving retinal cells by secreting growth factors like:  Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) in subretinal space. Retinal degenerative diseases are one of the most important debilitating concerns in modern countries which has encountered the problem of ageing population. One of the best examples of retinal degenerative disease which is a leading cause of permanent visual loss in Western world is age related macular degeneration (AMD). In United States it is believed that nearly 1.75 million, older than 40 years have end stages of this debilitating disease, and it is estimated that this number will progress to approximately 3 million people by year 2020. One of the most common pathways which is involved in initiation and development of retinal disease is called Oxidative stress. Schwann cells are capable of secreting high amounts of antioxidant enzymes which protect PNS in front of oxidative stress which is result of glucose fluctuation in diabetic patients. The antioxidant role of Schwann cells in PNS may be the possible mechanism which can make Schwann cells potent reconstructing agents in CNS and especially in retinal injuries and retinal degenerative disease.


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