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Erythropoietin: A Candidate Neuroprotective Agent in the Treatment of Glaucoma

Tsai, James C. MD*; Song, Brian J. BA; Wu, Li MD; Forbes, Max MD

doi: 10.1097/IJG.0b013e318156a556
Special Section

Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy that is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Although methods to lower intraocular pressure are the mainstay of glaucoma therapy, there are currently no available treatment modalities targeted at neuroprotection. Erythropoietin is a hematopoietic cytokine that has been shown to possess remarkable tissue-protective properties in preclinical models of neurodegeneration. As a result, there is a growing interest to explore the neuroprotective properties of erythropoietin as a possible therapeutic agent in neuropathic diseases of the eye such as glaucoma. Initial results in animal models have been promising, but further studies are needed to fully evaluate the safety and efficacy of this candidate neuroprotective agent in clinical trials.

*Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY

Supported in part by The Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, Inc, and an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, New York, NY.

Reprints: Dr James C. Tsai, MD, Yale Eye Center, PO Box 208061, New Haven, CT 06520-8061 (e-mail:

Received for publication August 10, 2006; accepted January 28, 2007

None of the authors has a proprietary interest in the development or marketing of any of the products or devices mentioned herein.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.