About this Research Topic
Retinal and optic nerve degenerative diseases lead to progressive loss of vision. The causes of degeneration vary from genetic predisposition to the environmental, from metabolic changes to inflammatory processes.
The eye is part of the central nervous system (CNS) and previous studies have increasingly suggested that neuroinflammation plays a key role in some ocular diseases such as age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa involving monocytes, Muller glial cells, microglial cells, astrocytes.
As well, even in CNS demyelinating conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), investigation of the visual system can provide significant insights into mechanisms of disease and recovery. The visual axis is considered a valuable anatomical model with which to study these conditions as it can be both directly and indirectly involved. Several imaging techniques including optical coherence tomography and magnetic resonance imaging have been employed to interrogate these mechanisms and to search for biomarkers of disease severity.
Recently, some neuroinflammatory pathways have been recognized in age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. The ophthalmologists need new markers (OCT, electrophysiology) and new methods (from animal and human models) to assess neuroinflammation in these diseases both to perform early diagnosis and to investigate neuroprotective treatments. Novel therapeutic interventions targeting to control neuroinflammation should be recommended but must be consistent with their results.
For CNS conditions such as MS and NMOSD, direct visual system involvement manifesting as optic neuritis can be studied to investigate pathophysiological and recovery mechanisms of acute inflammatory lesions and to investigate neuroprotective or remyelinating strategies that can preserve or restore neuroaxonal integrity.
Interrogation of non-optic neuritis eyes in MS and NMOSD have provided insights into diffuse disease markers of neurodegeneration and inflammatory activity especially using OCT. These advances can help us to develop robust imaging biomarkers of disease severity and therefore potentially help to monitor disease progression or response to treatment in the future.
The scope of the Research Topic is to investigate new advances in diagnosis and potential treatments of degeneration affecting the retina, the optic nerve and the visual system. Including, but not limited to, the following areas:
• Neuroinflammation in optic nerve and retinal diseases
• Optical coherence tomography in glaucoma, age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy
• Optical coherence tomography in CNS demyelination
• Electrophysiology in diseases affecting the retina, the optic nerve and the visual system
• Neuroprotection studies in glaucoma
• Anti-inflammatory therapies in retinal degenerations
• Neuroprotection studies in CNS demyelinating disease
• MRI of visual axis in CNS demyelination
We would like to acknowledge that Dr. Luigia Scudeller, University of Pavia, has acted as a coordinator and has contributed to the preparation of the proposal for this Research Topic.
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