Examination of the Neuroprotective Effects of URB597 in Young and Aged Rat Retina
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Anandamide (AEA), a well characterized endocannabinoid that has actions at multiple targets in the eye, may have potential as a novel therapeutic in the treatment of retinal disease. However, AEA is rapidly degraded by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). Therefore this study examined the drug URB597, that inhibits FAAH degradation of AEA, to assess AEA effects in experimental models of retinal damage. The objectives were to: 1) evaluate changes present in the aging retina, 2) determine whether the aging retina is more susceptible to tissue damage, and 3) investigate whether increasing AEA can provide retinal neurovascular protection in young and aged retina following damage. The results from this study showed that URB597 had protective effects on retinal ganglion cells and retinal capillaries and inhibited phagocytotic MG in models of retinal damage in young, but not the aged retina.