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The role of transforming growth factor β in glaucoma and the therapeutic implications


Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy frequently associated with elevated intraocular pressure, ocular vascular changes and extracellular matrix remodelling at the optic nerve head and in the trabecular meshwork. The pathogenesis is multifactorial and complex, but many recent studies have suggested that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays a major role in the process. Significantly elevated levels of TGF-β have been identified in the anterior chamber of glaucomatous eyes. TGF-β has also been shown to directly cause increased intraocular pressure. It is believed that this occurs through complex interaction with the trabecular meshwork, leading to decreased aqueous humour outflow. These processes occur through specific interactions with various proteins and signalling molecules also present in ocular tissues. By understanding the role that TGF-β plays in the pathogenesis of glaucoma, alternative therapeutic agents can be developed, which target these pathways and improve and assist in the management of disease. This review will cover previous investigative studies and discuss the current understanding of TGF-β's role in glaucoma and how it may serve as a potential therapeutic target.

  • Glaucoma
  • Pathology
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Aqueous humour
  • Anterior chamber

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