New Glaucoma Models Mined from an Inbred Genetic Reference Panel

Monica Jablonski, PhD The University of Tennessee Health Science Center


Millions of people are affected by glaucoma and some lose their vision due to this disease. To develop new drugs to treat glaucoma or to understand why glaucoma causes vision loss, it is important to have accurate models of the disease. Unfortunately, there are not enough models available that truly reflect the human disease. We hope to change that. In our study, we will identify and characterize new glaucoma models that share the disease phenotypes of humans. These models will be a very useful resource for all vision scientists. 

Project Details

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Our chances of losing vision to this disease markedly increase as we age and if we have relatives that have glaucoma. Despite its prevalence, we don’t fully understand what causes glaucoma, why some people lose their vision faster than others, and how we can stop the progression of vision loss. In our BrightFocus-funded study, we will identify and characterize strains of mice within the BXD genetic reference panel that mimic primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG), normal tension glaucoma (NTG) and ocular hypertension. Our overall goal is to meet the urgent need for new, rigorously characterized and reproducible mouse glaucoma models that appropriately reflect the variety of glaucoma subtypes recognized in the human population. Any glaucoma model that we identify is spontaneous and is due to the particular set of polymorphisms in the genome of each individual strain, similar to the human condition. Moreover, the phenotype of each strain is highly reproducible and the supply of mice from each strain is unlimited. These models can be used by multiple investigators to identify disease mechanisms and/or evaluate new glaucoma therapies.