-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Two genetic variations are
linked to a common form of glaucoma, known as primary open-angle
glaucoma, according to new research.
Glaucoma affects about 2.2 million people in the United States,
the U.S. National Eye Institute said in a news release.
"Loss of vision from glaucoma, a common cause of blindness worldwide, is due to irreversible damage to the optic nerve," noted one expert, Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Glaucoma is usually associated with high eye pressure leading to optic nerve damage. There is also a form of glaucoma with normal pressure."
In the new study, Janey Wiggs, of Harvard Medical School and
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, and colleagues
analyzed the DNA sequences of more than 6,000 people. Half of them
had primary open-angle glaucoma. This form of the disease is
typically associated with increased eye pressure, but one-third of
these patients had normal-pressure glaucoma.
The study, published online April 26 in
PLoS Genetics, found that two genetic variations were linked with primary open-angle glaucoma, including those who have normal-pressure glaucoma.
One variant is in a gene located on chromosome 9. The second
variant is in a region of chromosome 8, where it may affect the
expression of one or two other genes. These genes may interact with
a molecule that regulates cell growth and survival throughout the
body, the researchers explained in the news release.
The investigators believe future studies could focus on this
molecule as a treatment for various forms of glaucoma.
Fromer concurred. "These results reveal new insights into the
genetic pathways of optic nerve disease in glaucoma for the first
time and are an important step toward the development of
preventative and protective therapies," he said.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.