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Glaucoma, a multifactorial neurodegenerative disease, is the second most common cause of blindness. Since early diagnosis facilitates timely treatment, it is therefore essential to identify appropriate markers. In the future, so-called biomarkers could be helpful in early detection and follow-up. In glaucoma, these parameters could be obtained in the aqueous humour. Altered antibodies, proteins, microRNA (miRNA) and trace element levels have already been identified. This review provides insight into possible changes in the aqueous humour of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), normal tension glaucoma (NTG) or pseudoexfoliation glaucoma (PEXG). Studies on antibody changes in POAG patients identified an upregulation of immune system associated antibodies such as heat shock protein (HSP) 27. HSP27 was also upregulated in PEXG patients but decreased in NTG. In POAG and PEXG samples, the levels of certain proteins, including interleukins and endothelin-1, were elevated. The vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 may play a role in regulating intraocular pressure. By contrast, proteins playing a role in the response to oxidative stress were downregulated. In NTG patients, proteins responsible for the elimination of toxic by-products from the respiratory chain were downregulated. In addition, the aqueous humour of POAG and PEXG patients contained several miRNAs that have been linked to tissue development, neurological disease and cellular organisation. Other miRNAs regulated in glaucoma play a role in extracellular matrix remodelling and thus may affect drainage resistance in the trabecular meshwork. It is also interesting to note that the aqueous humour of glaucoma patients showed changes in the levels of trace elements such as zinc and selenium. The elevated zinc levels could be responsible for the imbalance of intraocular matrix metalloproteinases and thus for increased intraocular pressure. All these studies demonstrate the complex changes in aqueous humour in glaucoma. Some of these biomarkers may be useful in the future for early diagnosis of the disease. Thieme. All rights reserved.


Sabrina Reinehr, Ana M Mueller-Buehl, Teresa Tsai, Stephanie C Joachim. Specific Biomarkers in the Aqueous Humour of Glaucoma Patients. Klinische Monatsblatter fur Augenheilkunde. 2022 Feb;239(2):169-176

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PMID: 35211939

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