Protective effect of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) on the recovery of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced retinal damage in a rat model

Balazs Varga, Rudolf Gesztelyi, Mariann Bombicz, David Haines, Adrienn Monika Szabo, Adam Kemeny-Beke, Miklos Antal, Miklos Vecsernyes, Bela Juhasz, Arpad Tosaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


The present study demonstrates capacity of α-MSH to augment recovery from ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced retinal damage in vivo and correlation of its protective effects with expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Used techniques include ocular ischemia and reperfusion, electroretinography, histology, electron microscopy, and molecular-biological techniques. The results demonstrate the α-MSH-mediated inhibition of I/R-induced functional deterioration of the retina. Outcomes suggest that the protective effects of α-MSH occur mainly through HO-1-dependent pathways but HO-1-independent mechanisms may also contribute to protection. The observation that post-ischemic treatment with α-MSH exhibits therapeutic efficacy in the same range as pre-ischemic treatment, is a novel result. This outcome suggests a highly conserved protective role for α-MSH as a major stress response mechanism - and offers the possibility for development of novel therapeutic strategies utilizing this hormone, in particular in treatment of conditions resulting from I/R injury, such as deterioration of retinal microcirculation. The merit of the study lies in the fact that I/R injury contribute significantly to the severity of retinopathies. However, currently there are no evidence-based treatments for retinal I/R injury available for clinical use. Our finding suggests that α-MSH may have a very wide range of uses in the prevention of I/R-mediated pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-570
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2013


  • Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone
  • Electroretinography
  • Heme oxygenase
  • Ischemia/reperfusion
  • Rat
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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