Author(s): Zabala L, Saldanha C, Martins e Silva J, SouzaRamalho P
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Abstract PURPOSE: There is increasing evidence that abnormal perfusion of the optic nerve head is an important factor involved in the pathophysiology of glaucoma. Transport and distribution of oxygen to the tissues takes place through the erythrocyte membrane. Red blood cell (RBC) acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is a marker of RBC membrane integrity. The aim of this study was to find out whether RBC membrane integrity is preserved in primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and whether it is modified by the use of topical timolol maleate and pilocarpine. METHOD: RBC AChE activity was determined ex vivo by Kaplan's spectrophotometric method in 19 POAG patients undergoing topical treatment for glaucoma with timolol, pilocarpine or a combination of the two drugs, and compared with that in 20 controls. To assess the effect of antiglaucomatous therapy in our findings, we carried out an in vitro study in 26 non-glaucomatous patients in which we measured RBC AChE activity after incubation of blood with either timolol maleate, pilocarpine or a combination of the two drugs, using the same spectrophotometric method. RESULTS: There was a significant increase in RBC AChE enzyme activity in POAG patients compared with the control group (p < 0.002). However, timolol and pilocarpine, individually or in combination, have the opposite effect, significantly decreasing RBC AChE activity (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: This change in RBC AChE enzyme activity could suggest alterations in RBC membrane integrity in primary open angle glaucoma. Whether or not this finding has implications regarding the microcirculation at the optic nerve head needs to be investigated further.
This article was published in Eye (Lond)
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology