Researchers have long been in search of new ways to treat glaucoma – an incurable eye disease. However, at Karolinska Institute and St. Erik Eye Hospital, a team has discovered more clues as to its pathogenesis.
A new study published in the journal PNAS shows how metabolic disturbance of the neurons coincides with the raised pressure in the eyes.
Rapamycin and pyruvate treatments exhibited having a protective effect in animal and cell models.
Glaucoma leads to partial or complete loss of vision in 80 million people worldwide, of whom 100,000 – 200,000 belong from Sweden. Age, high intraocular pressure, and genetic predisposition are the three major risk factors.
The researchers have been able to demonstrate that there is a correlation between high intraocular pressure and low levels of pyruvate. When a pyruvate supplement was given, it created a protective effect on both animal and cell models.
They have also shown how mTOR (an important protein in cellular metabolism) inhibitor rapamycin was able to protect the retinal ganglion cells.
The Columbia University Medical Center is the home to a clinical study combining pyruvate with nicotinamide.