Substances of interest that support glaucoma therapy

Sergio Claudio Saccà, Paolo Corazza, Stefano Gandolfi, Daniele Ferrari, Samir Sukkar, Eugenio Luigi Iorio, Carlo Enrico Traverso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Glaucoma is a multifactorial disease in which pro-apoptotic signals are directed to retinal ganglion cells. During this disease the conventional outflow pathway becomes malfunctioning. Aqueous humour builds up in the anterior chamber, leading to increased intraocular pressure. Both of these events are related to functional impairment. The knowledge of molecular mechanisms allows us to better understand the usefulness of substances that can support anti-glaucoma therapy. The goal of glaucoma therapy is not simply to lower intraocular pressure; it should also be to facilitate the survival of retinal ganglion cells, as these constitute the real target tissue in this disease, in which the visual pathway is progressively compromised. Indeed, an endothelial dysfunction syndrome affecting the endothelial cells of the trabecular meshwork occurs in both normal-tension glaucoma and high-tension glaucoma. Some substances, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, can counteract the damage due to the molecular mechanisms-whether ischemic, oxidative, inflammatory or other-that underlie the pathogenesis of glaucoma. In this review, we consider some molecules, such as polyphenols, that can contribute, not only theoretically, to neuroprotection but which are also able to counteract the metabolic pathways that lead to glaucomatous damage. Ginkgo biloba extract, for instance, improves the blood supply to peripheral districts, including the optic nerve and retina and exerts a neuro-protective action by inhibiting apoptosis. Polyunsaturated fatty acids can protect the endothelium and polyphenols exert an anti-inflammatory action through the down-regulation of cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6. All these substances can aid anti-glaucoma therapy by providing metabolic support for the cells involved in glaucomatous injury. Indeed, it is known that the food we eat is able to change our gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number239
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Cell cultures
  • Oxidative damage
  • Primary open angle glaucoma
  • Trabecular meshwork NFkB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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