American experts believe that glaucoma should be attributed to autoimmune pathologies, which are characterized by the destruction of protein structures by the body.
The statement of scientists can reverse all the ideas of doctors about the treatment of glaucoma, because now it is necessary to use etiopathogenetic therapy first.
Currently, glaucoma is a diagnosis of tens of millions of people worldwide. Moreover, this pathology was recognized as the main cause of vision loss in patients.
However, the etiological origin of the disease still remains an unsolved mystery to scientists. MIT experts have found that the base of glaucoma can be laid by the uncontrolled reaction of human immunity. After conducting studies in rodents, scientists have proved that T-lymphocytes in the body are responsible for irreversible damaging processes in the retina. More - more: T-cells are attacked by neural proteins of the retina, when immunity is confronted with certain types of microbes. Under the influence of the infectious process, the immune defense literally “flies off the coils”, taking its own proteins for strangers with whom it is necessary to fight.
“Our work has allowed us to prove that, until now, the treatment of glaucoma was fundamentally wrong. Studying the role of microbes in the formation of the disease will help to further block and promptly detect glaucoma, ”says biologist doctor Jianshu Chen.
The main role in the development of the disease is given to the increase in intraocular pressure, which is quite typical for older people. The problem initially proceeds hidden: a person recognizes a problem only when every second ganglion structure is irretrievably affected.
In our time, glaucoma is treated by setting control over intraocular pressure. However, this approach does not always lead to success: many patients experience further aggravation of the problem even with normal IOP.
Scientists explain: “We assumed that there must be some reason for the instability of intraocular pressure. The first thing we thought was an autoimmune reaction. ”
In order to check the assumption, experts studied the retina of sick rodents: first of all, they were interested in the presence of immune cells. As it turned out, such cells were present in large numbers in the tissues. Scientists thought it was strange, because the protective membrane of the retina should not let them into the internal structures. Further, it was found that high intraocular pressure gives the "green light" for the passage of T-cells, which fall inside and act on heat shock proteins responsible for the stress and traumatic response.
Why is this happening? Scientists have found out: before such lymphocytes already “got acquainted” with heat shock proteins, but they had a microbial origin. If we explain it differently, the following turns out: immune cells have already entered into the fight against microbes that have a structurally similar protein. And now they began to attack normal squirrels, as they "remember" them as threatening agents. Experts call this a cross reaction.
So what kind of microbe is “guilty” of developing the wrong reaction? So far, scientists can not answer this question.
Details on the opening can be found in the article Nature Communication.
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