You are here: Home » News-IANS » Health-Medicine
Business Standard

Glaucoma may be an autoimmune disease: Study

IANS  |  New York 

Glaucoma, an eye which affects nearly 70 million people worldwide, may be an autoimmune disease, suggests a new research.

In a study of mice, the researchers showed that the body's own T cells are responsible for the seen in

Furthermore, these T cells appear to be primed to attack retinal neurons as the result of previous interactions with bacteria that normally live in our body, said the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

The discovery suggests that it was possible to develop new treatments for by blocking this autoimmune activity.

"This opens a new approach to prevent and treat glaucoma," said Jianzhu Chen, at (MIT).

is a group of that cause damage to the optic nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain.

One of the biggest risk factors for glaucoma is elevated pressure in the eye, which often occurs as people age, and the ducts that allow fluid to drain from the eye become blocked.

The often goes undetected at first and patients may not realise they have the until half of their cells have been lost.

Most treatments focus on lowering pressure in the eye (also known as intraocular pressure).

However, in many patients, the disease worsens even after intraocular pressure returns to normal.

In studies in mice, the researchers found the same effect.

"That led us to the thought that this pressure change must be triggering something progressive, and the first thing that came to mind is that it has to be an immune response," Dong Feng Chen, at Harvard Medical School, said.

Further studies revealed that the glaucoma-linked T cells target proteins called heat shock proteins, which help cells respond to stress or

In human patients with glaucoma, the researchers found that they had five times the normal level of T cells specific to heat shock proteins.

--IANS

asj/gb/sed

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 16:30 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU