Retinal tissue is subjected to stress such as increased intraocular pressure. This can lead to aging-related epigenetic and transcriptional changes. The authors of the study demonstrated that repeated stress causes eye tissue to age more quickly in younger retinal tissue. The findings may allow targeting and maintaining cellular activity in glaucoma patients.
According to the researchers, even a slight increase in intraocular pressure causes the death of retinal ganglion cells in older animals, resulting in visual impairment. Researchers are still investigating the mechanism of cumulative aging changes to identify possible treatment targets. They are also experimenting with different methods to stop the acceleration of stress-related aging.
The epigenetic changes observed during the study show that changes at the chromatin level are acquired cumulatively after several stress conditions. This provides a window of opportunity for early detection of the disease and prevention of vision loss.
In healthy people, intraocular pressure fluctuates between 12-21 mmHg every day. About two-thirds of people experience it more often at night. Measurement of intraocular pressure alone is not sufficient to predict disease progression in glaucoma patients because of the wide range of intraocular pressure.
Long-term changes in intraocular pressure are considered an indicator of the development of glaucoma. This prediction is reinforced by the results of the study. The authors claim that the aging of retinal tissue is accelerated not only by oscillations, but also by frequent, light fluctuations.
The study highlights the importance of early diagnosis and prevention as well as age-related management of age-related diseases, including glaucoma.
- Stress-induced aging in the mouse eye – (https:pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36397653/.)