Focus on molecular events in the anterior chamber leading to glaucoma

Sergio Claudio Saccà, Alberto Izzotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Primary open-angle glaucoma is a multifactorial disease that affects the retinal ganglion cells, but currently its therapy is to lower the eye pressure. This indicates a definite involvement of the trabecular meshwork, key region in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. This is the first target of glaucoma, and its functional complexity is a real challenge to search. Its functions are those to allow the outflow of aqueous humor and not the reflux. This article describes the morphological and functional changes that happen in anterior chamber. The "primus movens" is oxidative stress that affects trabecular meshwork, particularly its endothelial cells. In these develops a real mitochondriopaty. This leads to functional impotence, the trabecular meshwork altering both motility and cytoarchitecture. Its cells die by apoptosis, losing barrier functions and altering the aqueous humor outflow. All the morphological alterations occur that can be observed under a microscope. Intraocular pressure rises and the malfunctioning trabecular meshwork endotelial cells express proteins that completely alter the aqueous humor. This is a liquid whose functional proteomics complies with the conditions of the trabecular meshwork. Indeed, in glaucoma, it is possible detect the presence of proteins which testify to what occurs in the anterior chamber. There are six classes of proteins which confirm the vascular endothelium nature of the anterior chamber and are the result of the morphofunctional trabecular meshwork decay. It is possible that, all or in part, these proteins can be used as a signal to the posterior pole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2197-2218
Number of pages22
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aqueous humor
  • Endothelium
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Molecular endpoints
  • Open angle glaucoma
  • Oxidative damage
  • Trabecular meshwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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