An Indian research team is drawing a connection between the oxidative stress and apoptosis seen in glaucoma patients and elevated levels of serum bile acids (SBA). The research, published in the Journal of Glaucoma, evenly divided 90 patients into two groups—those with and those without primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). The researchers declared a statistically significant difference between the SBA level in the two groups with the median measurement of 13.4ng/mL found in POAG patients and only 3.10ng/mL in non-POAG patients.

The investigators speculate that the connection between these tissue types may lie in SBA’s clinical pathways.

The “clinical pathway of BA synthesis occurs in [the] liver by the enzyme cytochrome P7A1,” the research says. “When BAs are increased in circulation during conditions of liver dysfunction, they may gain access into [the] brain and exert their effect on various neurological structures including [the] optic nerve.”

Although intraocular pressure remains the only modifiable risk factor for glaucomatous damage, the investigators suggest that this biomarker may play a role in diagnosing the disease. After all, the article argues, prior studies have already shown their high sensitivity and specificity in identifying other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Mridula J, Vijaya P, Gnanaharan J, Kamath S. Serum bile acids in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. J Glaucoma. 2018;27(8):687-90.