The main risk factor for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is increased intraocular pressure (IOP). It is of interest that about half of the patients have an IOP within the normal range (normal-tension glaucoma, NTG). Additionally, there is a group of patients with a high IOP but no glaucomatous neurodegeneration (ocular hypertension, OHT). Therefore, risk factors other than IOP are involved in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Since the retina has a very high oxygen-demand, decreased autoregulation and a fluctuating oxygen supply to the retina have been linked to glaucomatous neurodegeneration. To assess the significance of these mechanisms, we have utilized a human experimental model, in which we stress participants with a fluctuating oxygen supply. Levels of oxidative stress molecules, antioxidants, and lipid mediators were measured in the plasma. Patients with NTG, OHT, and control subjects were found to have similar levels of oxidative stress markers. In contrast, patients with OHT had a higher level of total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and pro-homeostatic lipid mediators. Thus, we suggest that OHT patients manage fluctuating oxygen levels more efficiently and, thus, are less susceptible to glaucomatous neurodegenerations, due to enhanced systemic antioxidant protection.
Keywords: antioxidant capacity; hydroxydocosahexaenoic acids; hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids; hypoxia; lipidomics; normal-tension glaucoma; ocular hypertension; oxidative stress; pro-homeostatic lipid mediators.