What is the link between vascular dysregulation and glaucoma?

Surv Ophthalmol. 2007 Nov;52 Suppl 2:S144-54. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2007.08.010.


The need of blood flow to different organs varies rapidly over time which is why there is sophisticated local regulation of blood flow. The term dysregulation simply means that blood flow is not properly adapted to this need. Dysregulative mechanisms can lead to an over- or underperfusion. A steady overperfusion may be less critical for long-term damage. A constant underperfusion, however, can lead to some tissue atrophy or in extreme situations to infarction. Unstable perfusion (underperfusion followed by reperfusion) leads to oxidative stress. There are a number of causes that lead to local or systemic vascular dysregulation. Systemic dysregulation can be primary or secondary of nature. A secondary dysregulation is due to other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, giant cell arteritis, systemic lupus erythematodes, multiple sclerosis, colitis ulcerosa, or Crohns disease. Patients with a secondary vascular dysregulation normally have a high level of circulating endothelin-1 (ET-1). This increased level of ET-1 leads to a reduction of blood flow both in the choroid and the optic nerve head but has little influence on autoregulation. In contrast, primary vascular dysregulation has little influence on baseline ocular blood flow but interferes with autoregulation. This, in turn, leads to unstable oxygen supply, which seems to be a relevant component in the pathogenesis of glaucomatous optic neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Choroid / blood supply
  • Endothelin-1 / blood
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Optic Disk / blood supply
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Regional Blood Flow


  • Endothelin-1