Published online Feb 12, 2015. doi: 10.5318/wjo.v5.i1.23
Peer-review started: May 29, 2014
First decision: June 18, 2014
Revised: November 3, 2014
Accepted: November 17, 2014
Article in press: November 19, 2014
Published online: February 12, 2015
Nanotechnology offers exciting new approaches for biology and medicine. In recent years, nanoparticles, particularly those of the rare metal cerium, are showing potential for a wide range of applications in medicine. Cerium oxide nanoparticles or nanoceria are antioxidants and possess catalytic activities that mimic those of super oxide dismutase and catalase, thereby protecting cells from oxidative stress. The retina is highly susceptible to oxidative stress because of its high oxygen consumption and high metabolic activity associated with exposure to light. Many retinal diseases progress through oxidative stress as a result of a chronic or acute rise in reactive oxygen species. Diseases of the retina are the leading causes of blindness throughout the world. Although some treatments may delay or slow the development of retinal diseases, there are no cures for most forms of blinding diseases. In this review is summarized evidence that cerium oxide nanoparticles can function as catalytic antioxidants in vivo in rodent models of age-related macular degeneration and inherited retinal degeneration and may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of human eye diseases. This may shift current research and clinical practice towards the use of nanoceria, alone or in combination with other therapeutics.
Core tip: This review outlines the recent findings that cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) may represent novel and broad spectrum therapeutic agents to treat retinal diseases including age-related macular degeneration, retinal angiomatous, inherited retinal degeneration, and fight inflammation and pathologies associated with oxidative stress.