All roads lead to glaucoma: Induced retinal injury cascades contribute to a common neurodegenerative outcome

TitleAll roads lead to glaucoma: Induced retinal injury cascades contribute to a common neurodegenerative outcome
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsAlqawlaq, S., J. Flanagan, and J. Sivak
JournalExperimental eye research
KeywordsAstrocytes, Biomechanics, Glaucoma, Glia, Ischemia, Metabolic stress, Microglia, Mitochondria, Neurotrophic factors, Oxidative stress, Risk factors
Abstract

Glaucoma describes a distinct optic neuropathy with complex etiology and a variety of associated risk factors, but with similar pathological endpoints. Risk factors such as age, increased intraocular pressure (IOP), low mean arterial pressure, and autoimmune disease, can all be associated with death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and optic nerve head remodeling. Today, IOP management remains the standard of care, even though IOP elevation is not pathognomonic of glaucoma, and patients can continue to lose vision despite effective IOP control. A contemporary view of glaucoma as a complex, neurodegenerative disease has developed, along with the recognition of a need for new disease modifying retinal treatment strategies and improved outcomes. However, the distinction between risk factors triggering the disease process and retinal injury responses is not always clear. In this review, we attempt to distinguish between the various triggers, and their association with subsequent key RGC injury mechanisms. We propose that distinct glaucomatous risk factors result in similar retinal and optic nerve injury cascades, including oxidative and metabolic stress, glial reactivity, and altered inflammatory responses, which induce common molecular signals to induce RGC apoptosis. This organization forms a coherent disease framework and presents conserved targets for therapeutic intervention that are not limited to specific risk factors. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

DOI10.1016/j.exer.2018.11.005