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Glaucoma is an age-related neurodegenerative disease of the visual system, affecting both the eye and the brain. Yet its underlying metabolic mechanisms and neurobehavioral relevance remain largely unclear. Here, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the GABAergic and glutamatergic systems in the visual cortex of glaucoma patients, as well as neural specificity, which is shaped by GABA and glutamate signals and underlies efficient sensory and cognitive functions. Our study shows that among the older adults, both GABA and glutamate levels decrease with increasing glaucoma severity regardless of age. Further, our study shows that the reduction of GABA but not glutamate predicts the neural specificity. This association is independent of the impairments on the retina structure, age, and the gray matter volume of the visual cortex. Our results suggest that glaucoma-specific decline of GABA undermines neural specificity in the visual cortex and that targeting GABA could improve the neural specificity in glaucoma. © 2023. The Author(s).


Ji Won Bang, Carlos Parra, Kevin Yu, Gadi Wollstein, Joel S Schuman, Kevin C Chan. GABA decrease is associated with degraded neural specificity in the visual cortex of glaucoma patients. Communications biology. 2023 Jun 29;6(1):679

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PMID: 37386293

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