Purchase this article with an account.
Ji Won Bang, Anna M Chen, Carlos Parra, Gadi Wollstein, Joel S Schuman, Kevin C Chan; Functional and metabolic alterations in the visual cortex of glaucoma patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):4336.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Glaucoma is thought to involve neurochemical changes not only in the eye but also the brain’s visual system. While excitotoxicity may play a role in glaucoma pathogenesis, it remains controversial whether excess glutamate occurs in this process. In the current study, we investigated alterations in the excitatory-inhibitory balance (E/I balance) in the visual cortex of glaucoma patients. In addition, we examined whether the altered neurochemical balance in the visual cortex is associated with projections of basal nucleus of Meynert (BNM), a major source of cortical cholinergic innervation in the basal forebrain.
10 glaucoma patients with a wide range of disease severity and 4 age-matched healthy subjects underwent 3-Tesla anatomical MRI, resting-state functional MRI (fMRI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). We used MEGA-PRESS and PRESS sequences to measure the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and combined glutamate and glutamine (GLX), respectively. Both GABA and GLX were obtained from the same single voxel (2.2×2.2×2.2 cm3) placed along the calcarine sulci and fitted by LCModel software. We normalized the amount of GABA and GLX to N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) values obtained from MEGA-PRESS, following LCModel guidelines. E/I balance was calculated by dividing the amount of GLX by the amount of GABA. The resting-state fMRI data were analyzed by CONN software.
Glaucoma patients had 16.51% higher E/I balance in the visual cortex compared to the healthy control group (Figure 1a). This difference in E/I balance was apparently driven by a 16.85% reduction in GABA (Figure 1b) with no apparent difference in glutamate or glutamine levels between groups (Figure 1c). Furthermore, the E/I balance in the visual cortex was correlated with the functional connectivity between BNM and the visual cortex (Figure 2).
The current study shows that the visual cortex of glaucoma patients adopts an excitatory-dominant state that is driven by reduced GABA. This imbalance was associated with the functional connectivity between BNM and the visual cortex, suggesting that weaker projection of BNM to the visual cortex may play a role in the neurochemical changes in the visual cortex of glaucoma patients. Taken together, these findings suggest that widespread functional and metabolic alterations are involved in the brain during glaucoma pathogenesis.
This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only