A Novel Uveolymphatic Drainage Pathway-Possible New Target for Glaucoma Treatment

Lymphat Res Biol. 2017 Dec;15(4):360-363. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2017.0019. Epub 2017 Oct 27.


Glaucoma is a heterogeneous group of ophthalmic diseases leading to irreversible damage to the optic nerve. While the overall mechanism responsible for glaucoma remains obscure, the most important risk factor is elevated intraocular pressure. The current therapies, whether pharmacological or surgical, are primarily symptomatic with the aim to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP). Poorer response to treatment is associated, for example, with pseudoexfoliation glaucoma, which is determined by blocking the trabecular meshwork (TM) both by pigment grains and the pseudoexfoliation material. It was thought that aqueous humor is drained from the eye by two main pathways: conventional outflow through the TM and Schlemm's canal; and unconventional outflow through the ciliary body through uveal tissue. In 2009 Yucel et al. described and proved the presence of a third pathway for aqueous humor drainage using two specific lymphatic markers: podoplanin, and lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1 to identify lymphatic channels in the human ciliary body. The discovery identifies a novel target for IOP-lowering therapies. The most promising group are prostaglandins, which are widely prescribed for glaucoma patients. An intriguing new possibility in glaucoma therapy is using ANGPT agonist. It is still not known if the lymphatic drainage in glaucoma is decreased or dysfunctional and whether lymphatic stimulation can help in removing the improperly accumulated substances, as is seen in pseudoexfoliation glaucoma. However, this new target for glaucoma treatment appears very promising.

Keywords: aqueous drainage; glaucoma; intraocular pressure; pseudoexfoliation syndrome; uveolymphatic pathway.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma / etiology
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology*
  • Glaucoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Uvea / physiopathology*