Researchers Discover Gene Expression that Might Contribute to Eye Pressures in Glaucoma
Researchers from the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University recently looked at the MIR182 microRNA 182 (miR-182) gene to identify potential high-risk glaucoma patients.
The study used the genetic assessment of eye tissue and fluid samples cataloged in the National Eye Institute Glaucoma Human Genetics Collaboration Heritable Overall Operational Database (NEIGHBORHOOD) consortium.
The study, published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science journal, looked at 3,853 people with primary open-angle glaucoma (either high- or normal-tension) and 33,480 people without glaucoma and found a significant variation of the miR-182 gene. The researchers found that patients with high-tension glaucoma (the majority of patients in the study) had a shorter expression of the gene when compared to the patients in the control group.
The study is not entirely indicative of miR-182’s impact on the disease because all patients were under treatment for the disease. This means that the research team must rule out any effects the patients’ treatment medications may have had on the gene before making a definitive conclusion about miR-182’s affect.
Studies have previously shown that the miR-182 gene causes premature aging of the eye, so it is not unusual to associate the gene with glaucoma intensity. The next step in the research is to assess the impact of different high-pressure medications to determine their effect on miR-182.
As more studies of the gene take place, researchers hope to develop gene-targeted treatments to combat the genetic predisposition to glaucoma and other eye diseases.
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