Like most parts of the human body, our eyes gradually deteriorate over time. New research shows how stress accelerates this aging process. Glaucoma.
The study is based on tests conducted in mice, but the team believes the same principles are likely to apply to the human eye.
Common result Even in the healthiest of humans, increased mental stress intraocular pressure (IOP, aka ocular hypertension), or fluid pressure in the eye. Although known to be associated with the development of glaucoma, the physiological stress of elevated intraocular pressure may also be associated with a marker of biological aging, which is what genes are switched on or off. It can manifest itself as changes in DNA and protein molecular tags that control what happens.
” epigenetic changes It suggests that changes in chromatin levels are acquired in a cumulative manner after several instances of stress. Ophthalmologist Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk said:University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine.
“This offers an opportunity to prevent blindness if the disease is recognized early.”
The team looked at the optic nerve head (the place at the back of the eye where retinal cells come together to form nerves leading to the brain) in the mouse eye. Here, the IOP was artificially elevated. Young mice showed little difference compared to control animals, whereas older mice showed loss of axons or nerve fibers in mice with slightly increased intraocular pressure. This also happens in cases of glaucoma.
Put another way, aging mice are more susceptible to changes in intraocular pressure, leading to inflammatory damage and a gradual loss of cellular function that usually takes years to develop spontaneously.
In humans, IOP is not fixed but fluctuates throughout the day. Previously, more extreme and long-term fluctuations were associated with glaucoma progression. The researchers behind the new study believe that the cumulative effects of these fluctuations, and the pressure put on the eye, are responsible for tissue aging.
“Our study shows that even moderate hydrostatic IOP elevations result in retinal ganglion cell loss and corresponding visual impairment when performed in aged animals.” Skowronska-Krawczyk says.
“We continue to work to understand the mechanisms of cumulative changes in aging in order to find potential targets for therapeutics. We are testing a different approach.”
Having detected these pressure-induced changes, the researchers believe they can use it as a way to assess the epigenetic age of ocular tissues—essentially the amount of wear and tear. Personalized for each individual patient.
Aside from mental stress, there are some other factors It can increase pressure within the eye, from genetics to eye trauma to medications. Can save one’s eyesight.
As the world population ages, the number of cases of glaucoma is expected to increase. was able to reach 110 million by 2040. Left untreated, these conditions can eventually lead to blindness.
There is no way to completely reverse glaucoma damage, but it can be managed. Also, early detection of glaucoma (and the causes that lead to glaucoma) could make a big difference in blindness.
“Our work highlights the importance of early diagnosis and prevention, and age-specific management of age-related diseases, including glaucoma.” Skowronska-Krawczyk says.
This research senescent cells.