Using Computational Drug-Gene Analysis to Identify Novel Therapeutic Candidates for Retinal Neuroprotection

Edward Xie, Urooba Nadeem, Bingqing Xie, Mark D’Souza, Dinanath Sulakhe, Dimitra Skondra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Retinal cell death is responsible for irreversible vision loss in many retinal disorders. No commercially approved treatments are currently available to attenuate retinal cell loss and preserve vision. We seek to identify chemicals/drugs with thoroughly-studied biological functions that possess neuroprotective effects in the retina using a computational bioinformatics approach. We queried the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to identify genes associated with retinal neuroprotection. Enrichment analysis was performed using ToppGene to identify compounds related to the identified genes. This analysis constructs a Pharmacome from multiple drug-gene interaction databases to predict compounds with statistically significant associations to genes involved in retinal neuroprotection. Compounds with known deleterious effects (e.g., asbestos, ethanol) or with no clinical indications (e.g., paraquat, ozone) were manually filtered. We identified numerous drug/chemical classes associated to multiple genes implicated in retinal neuroprotection using a systematic computational approach. Anti-diabetics, lipid-lowering medicines, and antioxidants are among the treatments anticipated by this analysis, and many of these drugs could be readily repurposed for retinal neuroprotection. Our technique serves as an unbiased tool that can be utilized in the future to lead focused preclinical and clinical investigations for complex processes such as neuroprotection, as well as a wide range of other ocular pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12648
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • bioinformatics
  • drug-repurposing
  • neuroprotection
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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