Glaucoma as a Neurodegenerative Disease Caused by Intrinsic Vulnerability Factors

Ana Artero-Castro, Francisco Javier Rodriguez-Jimenez, Pavla Jendelova, Kirstin B. VanderWall, Jason S. Meyer, Slaven Erceg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Glaucoma, one of the most common causes of blindness in developing countries today, involves a progressive loss of neural cells in the optic nerve that leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Increased intraocular pressure (IOP) presents as a major risk factor for glaucoma, although there exist cases of glaucoma patients with normal IOP that exhibit damage to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and the optic nerve. However, treatment approaches have maintained their focus on modifying IOP due to a lack of other modifiable risks factors. Traditional concepts in glaucoma involve the neuronal environment and external effects as a source of causative factors; however, studies have yet to investigate whether the molecular profile of RGCs in glaucoma patients makes them more vulnerable and/or susceptible to external damage. Our hypothesis states that molecular changes at the whole cell, gene expression, and electrophysiological level of the neurons can contribute to their degeneration. Herein, we briefly describe different types of glaucoma and any similarities to different molecular and cellular features of neurodegeneration. To test our hypothesis, we describe human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) as a reliable cellular tool to model neurodegenerative aspects of glaucoma to reveal the multiple pathological molecular mechanisms underlying disease development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101817
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • 3D organoids
  • Glaucoma
  • disease modelling
  • induced pluripotent stem cells
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • retinal ganglion cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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    Artero-Castro, A., Rodriguez-Jimenez, F. J., Jendelova, P., VanderWall, K. B., Meyer, J. S., & Erceg, S. (Accepted/In press). Glaucoma as a Neurodegenerative Disease Caused by Intrinsic Vulnerability Factors. Progress in Neurobiology, 193, [101817].