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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 25, 2023  2 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes ago

Glaucoma News: Japanese Study Finds Reduced Levels Of Glutathione In Glaucoma Patients Suggesting That Excessive Oxidative Stress Plays Key Role!

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Glaucoma News: Japanese Study Finds Reduced Levels Of Glutathione In Glaucoma Patients Suggesting That Excessive Oxidative Stress Plays Key Role!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 25, 2023  2 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes ago
A key point of the study finding is that reduced glutathione levels in the aqueous humor of normal-tension glaucoma patients suggests that excessive oxidative stress may contribute to optic nerve damage and RGC loss independently of high IOP in glaucoma!
Glaucoma News: In the realm of eye health, glaucoma stands as a formidable adversary, emerging as a leading cause of irreversible blindness globally, particularly among older individuals. Characterized by the gradual loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and ensuing visual field defects, glaucoma poses a significant public health challenge. Despite its prevalence and impact, the molecular intricacies and pathological mechanisms underpinning the onset and progression of glaucoma have remained elusive.

 Supplementing with glutathione via IV might also be beneficial for glaucoma patients.

A recent groundbreaking study covered in this Glaucoma News report that was conducted by researchers at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, has shed light on novel aspects of glaucoma pathophysiology. Employing advanced mass spectrometry (MS) techniques, the study delved into the metabolomic profile of the aqueous humor, unraveling key insights into the biological features associated with glaucoma.
Metabolomic Profiling: A Gateway to Understanding Glaucoma
The study, encompassing 40 glaucoma patients (32 with primary open-angle glaucoma, POAG, and 8 with normal-tension glaucoma, NTG) and 37 control subjects, aimed to dissect the aqueous humor's metabolomic profile. The aqueous humor, a vital ocular fluid, was obtained during trabeculectomy or cataract surgery and subjected to global metabolomics analysis.
The researchers identified five elevated metabolites and three reduced metabolites in glaucoma patients, forming a distinct metabolomic signature.
Strikingly, the glutathione level, a critical antioxidant agent, showed a significant reduction, particularly in association with visual field defects. This finding hinted at a potential link between reduced glutathione levels and glaucomatous optic nerve damage.
Validation and Reproducibility: Unveiling Glutathione's Role
To validate their findings, the researchers conducted a separate study, confirming the reproducibility of reduced glutathione levels in both NTG and POAG patients when compared to a cataract control group. This emphasized the robustness of their initial observations and reinforced the notion that glutathione reduction is not confined to a specific glaucoma subtype.
Validation Study: Glutathione Reduction Across Glaucoma Subtypes
The study's analysis of glutathione levels extended beyond the initial cohort, encompassing a separate population of NTG and POAG patients, with cataract patients serving as a control group. The targeted liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) analysis unequivocally confirmed the reduction of glutathione not only in NTG but also in POAG patients. This reduction was particularly prominent in patients with advanced visual field loss, reinforcing the notion that diminished antioxidant properties in the aqueous humor are a common feature in both IOP-dependent and IOP-independent glaucoma.
The researchers demonstrated that the aqueous humor's metabolomic profile could serve as a diagnostic tool for glaucoma, with the identified metabolites exhibiting a high accuracy reflected in the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve.
Unraveling the Complexity of Glaucoma
Glaucoma's intricate web of causative factors extends beyond elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), a primary focus of existing treatments. While IOP undoubtedly contributes to mechanical stress in RGCs and lamina cribrosa, the study highlighted that IOP-independent factors play a pivotal role in glaucoma progression.
Oxidative stress, glutamate excitotoxicity, impaired retinal blood flow, and genetic factors, notably the CDKN2B-AS1 gene, were identified as contributors to glaucoma onset. The aging process also emerged as a significant factor, with studies linking senescent retinal cells and markers of aging to RGC protection.
Metabolomic Approaches: Unraveling Glaucoma's Molecular Mysteries
Past research strategies have explored the aqueous humor to unveil specific molecules influencing glaucoma pathophysiology. Proteomic approaches have identified proteins associated with oxidative damage, mitochondrial damage, neural degeneration, apoptosis, immune responses, and the complement cascade. Metabolomics, a more recent addition to the arsenal of investigative tools, has provided a detailed examination of various metabolites altered in the aqueous humor of glaucoma patients.
The study's non-targeted metabolomics approach, involving high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, unveiled a metabolomic profile rich in information. Rigorous statistical analyses, such as principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least square-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), facilitated the identification of metabolites significantly associated with glaucoma.
Key Metabolites: Unveiling Glaucoma's Biomarkers
The study pinpointed several key metabolites with potential implications for glaucoma diagnosis and understanding its pathophysiology. Notably, betaine, L-acetylcarnitine, L-carnitine, ribonic acid, and glucaric acid exhibited elevated levels, while uridine, taurine, and glutathione experienced significant reductions in the aqueous humor of glaucoma patients.
Of particular interest was the robust association between reduced glutathione levels and visual field defects, suggesting a direct correlation between glutathione reduction and the severity of glaucomatous neurodegeneration.
Associations with Clinical Parameters: Bridging Metabolites and Glaucoma Phenotypes
The study delved further into the associations between identified metabolites and clinical parameters in glaucoma patients. Positive correlations were observed between glucaric acid and ribonic acid, as well as between L-acetylcarnitine and L-carnitine. Notably, glucaric acid and taurine levels demonstrated positive associations with preoperative IOP, while L-carnitine was positively associated with corneal thickness.
To elucidate the potential impact of glucaric acid on trabecular meshwork cells, the study conducted in vitro experiments. Contrary to expectations, glucaric acid did not induce significant changes, leading to the hypothesis that its elevation in the aqueous humor may result from stimulation due to elevated IOP.
Visual Field Grades: Metabolites as Surrogate Markers
The study expanded its exploration to visual field grades, a crucial criterion for intervention in glaucoma. Classification of glaucoma patients into three stages revealed a progressive increase in the levels of L-acetylcarnitine, L-carnitine, ribonic acid, and glucaric acid, particularly in advanced stages. Conversely, uridine and glutathione levels decreased with the severity of visual field loss. This highlighted the potential of these metabolites as valuable surrogate markers for glaucomatous neurodegeneration.
In unraveling the molecular mysteries of glaucoma, the Japanese study provides a comprehensive view of the metabolomic changes occurring in the aqueous humor. The identification of specific metabolites associated with clinical parameters and the validation of key findings underscore the potential of metabolomics in advancing our understanding of glaucoma.

Notably, the reduction of glutathione emerged as a critical factor in glaucomatous optic nerve damage, emphasizing the role of excessive oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. As we delve deeper into the intricate web of glaucoma's molecular landscape, the insights gleaned from studies like these pave the way for targeted interventions and personalized treatment approaches, bringing us closer to a clearer vision of conquering glaucoma and preserving the precious gift of sight.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: NPJ Aging.
For the latest Glaucoma News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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