Antibodies to Optic Nerve Glycosaminoglycans in Glaucoma

Martin Wax, MD Washington University Medical Schoo

Project Details

Although high intraocular pressure (IOP) is frequently associated with glaucoma, some people have the disease without high IOP. In these cases, it has been suggested that nerve death and damage to the optic nerve may result from a person's own antibodies (autoimmunity) that mistakenly attack the optic nerve and/or its blood supply. Dr. Wax has provided evidence that some glaucoma patients have antibodies that interact with important molecules (called glycosaminoglycans) that help form support structures for the optic nerve. He will now perform a detailed analysis to further characterize the specificity of these antibodies and determine whether there are changes in the glycosaminoglycans of patients with the antibodies. In addition, he will correlate the extent of antibody reactivity to glycosaminoglycans with optic nerve damage. The goal of this study is to confirm the hypothesis that autoimmunity plays a role in glaucoma.