Potential role of nitric oxide and endothelin in the pathogenesis of glaucoma

Surv Ophthalmol. 1999 Jun;43 Suppl 1:S51-8. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6257(99)00026-0.


Glaucoma is an optic nerve head neuropathy in which retinal ganglion cells are lost. A clear association exists between glaucoma and different risk factors, such as high intraocular pressure (IOP) or blood-flow dysregulation. Nitric oxide (NO) and endothelin, two recently identified cellular mediators, appear to be involved in the regulation of IOP as well as in the modulation of ocular blood flow. To some extent, NO is also involved in apoptosis, a mechanism of cell death that can lead to retinal ganglion cell loss in glaucoma. This article provides a short and simplified overview of the biochemistry of NO and endothelin and highlights the potential role of these two mediators in certain important aspects related to the pathogenesis of glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Arteries / metabolism
  • Arteries / physiopathology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endothelin-1 / physiology*
  • Eye / blood supply
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / etiology*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / metabolism
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology
  • Vasoconstriction


  • Endothelin-1
  • Nitric Oxide