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Jochen Rieck; The Pathogenesis of Glaucoma in the Interplay with the Immune System. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(3):2393-2409. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-9781.
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Glaucoma was previously thought to be caused only through an elevated intraocular pressure as a sole trigger. Emerging evidence indicates that the pathogenesis of glaucoma depends on several interacting pathogenetic mechanisms, which include mechanical effects by an increased IOP, decreased neutrophine-supply, hypoxia, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and the involvement of autoimmune processes. These autoimmune processes within the central nervous system are a highly organized response of the innate immunity. Through the recognition of neuronal epitopes, the long-term induction of the innate immune response and its transition to an adaptive form might be central to the pathophysiology of the glaucoma disease. Regardless of the pathogenic mechanism, the consequences are always the establishment of extensive degenerative processes in the optic nerve head, the retinal ganglion cells and the axons of the optic nerve, which will lead in the irreversible destruction of these neurons. This review article summarizes the current knowledge concerning the pathogenesis of glaucoma, with special focus on its interplay with the immune system.
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