Our goal was to investigate the neuroprotective effects of galantamine in a mouse model of blast-induced indirect traumatic optic neuropathy (bITON). Galantamine is an FDA-approved acetylcholinesterase inhibitor used to treat mild-moderate Alzheimer's disease. We exposed one eye of an anesthetized mouse to repeat bursts of over-pressurized air to induce traumatic optic neuropathy. Mice were given regular or galantamine-containing water (120 mg/L) ad libitum, beginning immediately after blast and continuing for one month. Electroretinograms and visual evoked potentials were performed just prior to endpoint collection. Histological and biochemical assessments were performed to assess activation of sterile inflammation, axon degeneration, and synaptic changes. Galantamine treatment mitigated visual function deficits induced by our bITON model via preservation of the b-wave of the electroretinogram and the N1 of the visual evoked potential. We also observed a reduction in axon degeneration in the optic nerve as well as decreased rod bipolar cell dendritic retraction. Galantamine also showed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Galantamine may be a promising treatment for blast-induced indirect traumatic optic neuropathy as well as other optic neuropathies.
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