Pharmacodynamics of citicoline relevant to the treatment of glaucoma.
Citicoline (exogenous CDP-choline) is a nontoxic and well-tolerated drug used in pharmacotherapy of brain insufficiency and some other neurological disorders, such as stroke, brain trauma, and Parkinson's disease. A few reports indicate that citicoline treatment may also be beneficial in glaucoma. Currently glaucoma is considered a neurodegenerative disease in which retinal ganglion cells (RGC) slowly die, likely in the apoptotic mechanism. Endogenous CDP-choline is a natural precursor of cellular synthesis of phospholipids, mainly phosphatydylcholine (PtdCho). Enhancement of PtdCho synthesis may counteract neuronal apoptosis and provide neuroprotection. Citicoline, when administered, undergoes a quick transformation to cytidine and choline, which are believed to enter brain cells separately and provide neuroprotection by enhancing PtdCho synthesis; similar effect may be expected to occur in glaucomatous RGC. Furthermore, citicoline stimulates some brain neurotransmitter systems, including the dopaminergic system, and dopamine is known as a major neurotransmitter in retina and postretinal visual pathways. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, treatment of glaucoma resulted in functional improvement in the visual system noted with electrophysiological methods. Development of citicoline as a treatment for glaucoma is indicated.