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Higher levels of diglycerides and triglycerides adversely associated with glaucoma


According to researchers, the study is the first to assess associations between pre-diagnostic circulating metabolites and POAG risk in two large independent datasets.

A doctor holding a tube full of blood in the laboratory. (Image Credit: AdobeStock/angellodeco)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/angellodeco)

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) the most common form, but researchers continue to unravel the mysteries of the disease.

In previous genome-wide association studies, researchers suggested there is a complex metabolic network that affects optic nerve health.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, and the Department of Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai focused on identifying plasma metabolites associated with risk of developing POAG in a case-control study nested within the prospective Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.1

According to the hospital’s news release, the study included 599 participants who developed POAG and 599 matched controls and examined pre-diagnostic circulating plasma metabolites from approximately 10 years before POAG diagnosis.1

In order to confirm their findings, the researchers examined the metabolomic data in plasma samples of 2238 glaucoma cases and 44,723 controls from the UK Biobank, according to a news release, and they found that higher levels of diglycerides and triglycerides were associated with risk of glaucoma, suggesting that they play an important role in glaucoma pathogenesis.

“Our study is the first to assess associations between pre-diagnostic circulating metabolites and POAG risk in two large independent datasets,” said co-first authors Oana A. Zeleznik, PhD, and Jae H. Kang, ScD, investigators at Brigham’s Channing Division of Network Medicine, according to a news release.

“These results provide new insights into the etiology of POAG. Our data implicate dysregulation in lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function in glaucoma etiology and suggest new targets for glaucoma prevention or therapies,” senior author Louis R. Pasquale, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in the news release.

  1. Zeleznik, O.A., Kang, J.H., Lasky-Su, J. et al. Plasma metabolite profile for primary open-angle glaucoma in three US cohorts and the UK Biobank. Nat Commun 14, 2860 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-38466-w
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