Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare and hereditary neurodegenerative disease which causes vision loss due to the death of photoreceptors in the retina, and for which there is currently no treatment. The research group at the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera on Therapeutic Strategies for Ocular Pathologies, headed by professor María Miranda Sanz, had already tested in a previous study the efficiency of progesterone to ameliorate the death of photoreceptor cells in the retina caused by this disease. Now, in a new project published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, they have observed a higher protective effect of progesterone when combined with a strong antioxidant: lipoic acid.
As highlighted by doctor María Miranda, professor at the CEU UCH and main researcher of the group, “in this new study we verified that both progesterone and the lipoic acid are separately able to protect photoreceptors in the retina from cell death, but their simultaneous application provides even better results than individually. These results, obtained in animal models, administering both substances orally, could be the basis for developing future treatments to ameliorate the eyesight deterioration caused by retinitis pigmentosa. There is currently no treatment for a disease which represents half of those that degenerate the retina around the world.”