Glaucoma gene identified!

Researchers have identified a new candidate gene for the most prevalent form of glaucoma known as primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). Details are reported in the February 17 journal PL0S Genetics.

This important discovery could lead to targeted treatment strategies for glaucoma which is the foremost cause of vision loss and blindness in the world. A main risk factor for POAG is elevated pressure inside the eye. This pressure is caused by an increased resistance to the flow of aqueous humor out of the eye’s front chamber.

Researchers identified the gene as ADAMTS10. This gene is thought to encode a protein involved in processing the extracellular matricx (ECM) which surrounds the connective and structural support tissue around cells. Evidence points to molecules within the ECM and matrix remodeling as being associated with aqueous outflow resistance. In addition, the gene is highly expressed in the trabecular meshwork which is the specialized filtration tissue through which aqueous humor passes which also points to the gene’s role in regulating aqueous humor outflow.

While it is known that aqueous outflow is hindered in POAG, it is not known how the outflow normally works and how to fix the hindered flow. If this gene is truly responsible for aqueous outflow regulation then researchers can start looking at it or its molecular partners as possible sources of therapies.*

Elise Ervin
Staff Writer

Comments

  1. It is always good news when a new candidate gene is identified in medicine and not just for glaucoma. That being said, I would like to add a couple of cautionary notes.

    As for glaucoma gene identificaiton, there have been a few identified that account for a total of about 3% of glaucomas. Glaucoma is a spectrum of diseases so while no doubt this new gene plays a role in the trabecular meshwork stability, it can still turn out to only account for a very small percentage of the glaucomas and not all of primary open angle glaucoma.

    When it comes to identifying genes and their future benefit, mostly we see disappointment. Yes, we are better able if a person has a gene to say they are at a higher risk of getting the disease, little has been developed in the way of treatment changes based on gene discovery. An example is Cystic Fibrosis for which the gene accounting for it was discovered in the 80’s when I was still in medical school. As far as I know, there has yet to be a cure or even a better treatment for CF despite knowing the gene.

    So, great news re another gene discovery. Let’s hope that for once this makes a difference to patients.

  2. Robert Marshburn Sr says

    Your information very informative. I look forward to the day something can be done for macular degeneration. I received 10 Lacentis shots and the last on hit scar tissue. I now hav a great loss of vision in my left eye. Is there anything in the foreseeable future for this. I am taking Visi Vite for macular degeneration. My Retina Specialist says this has stablized my vision which is not very good. Kindest regards.

  3. Robert Marshburn Sr says

    Your information very informative. I look forward to the day something can be done for macular degeneration. I received 10 Lacentis shots and the last on hit scar tissue. I now have a great loss of vision in my left eye. Is there anything in the foreseeable future for this. I am taking Visi Vite for macular degeneration. My Retina Specialist says this has stablized my vision which is not very good. Kindest regards.

  4. Robert Marshburn Sr says

    Your information very informative. I look forward to the day something can be done for macular degeneration. I received 10 Lacentis shots and the last on hit scar tissue. I now have a great loss of vision in my left eye. Is there anything in the foreseeable future for this? I am taking Visi Vite for macular degeneration. My Retina Specialist says this has stablized my vision which is not very good. Kindest regards.

  5. Dear Dr Krawitz
    Thank you for your latest piece of information.I appreciate all other information you send
    Best wishes
    Eric

  6. I found this article extremely interesting, as I do many of Dr. Krawitz’ articles such as the “I Ray” new treatment for AMD a couple of weeks ago.
    Being in the business of working with a Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty laser to reduce intraocular pressure, this article was particularly relevant!

    Thank you Dr. Krawitz for your very informative ophthalmic news emails!
    Lauren Teton
    Option3 LLC Laser Services

  7. This is absolutely great news. I have been dealing with glaucoma for thirty-plus years. My right eye is now showing the effects. The laser shots to the filtration tissue has not worked for me in that eye and am scheduled to have the other eye done.

    Please keep us the good work of educating the public.

    Thank you.

  8. Sandra Maynard says

    Is open angle glaucoma the same as narrow angle glaucoma? My eye Dr. told me I have narrow angle glaucoma and I should watch my eye pressure closely. He also wanted me to have small cuts made in my irises, which I declined.

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