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Abstract #0912

Neurochemical alterations in the visual cortex of glaucoma patients

Ji Won Bang1, Anna M Chen1,2, Carlos Parra1, Gadi Wollstein1, Joel S Schuman1, and Kevin Chan1,3
1Department of Ophthalmology, New York University, New York, NY, United States, 2Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY, United States, 3Department of Radiology, New York University, New York, NY, United States

Glaucoma is considered to involve neurochemical alterations in the visual system. While the role of excitotoxicity in glaucoma remains controversial, we showed that the balance between glutamate, a main excitatory signal, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a main inhibitory signal, is involved in glaucoma pathogenesis. We demonstrated that the visual cortex of glaucoma patients changes to an excitatory-dominant state and that this change is driven by reduced GABA. Additionally, we showed that visual field loss is associated with reduced N-acetyl-aspartate, a marker for neuronal integrity. Taken together, these findings suggest that neurochemical alterations may serve as informative markers for glaucoma.

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