The Glymphatic Hypothesis of Glaucoma: A Unifying Concept Incorporating Vascular, Biomechanical, and Biochemical Aspects of the Disease.
The pathophysiology of primary open-angle glaucoma is still largely unknown, although a joint contribution of vascular, biomechanical, and biochemical factors is widely acknowledged. Since glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, exploring its underlying pathophysiological mechanisms is extremely important and challenging. Evidence from recent studies appears supportive of the hypothesis that a "glymphatic system" exists in the eye and optic nerve, analogous to the described "glymphatic system" in the brain. As discussed in the present paper, elucidation of a glymphatic clearance pathway in the eye could provide a new unifying hypothesis of glaucoma that can incorporate many aspects of the vascular, biomechanical, and biochemical theories of the disease. It should be stressed, however, that the few research data currently available cannot be considered as proof of the existence of an "ocular glymphatic system" and that much more studies are needed to validate this possibility. Even though nothing conclusive can yet be said, the recent reports suggesting a paravascular transport system in the eye and optic nerve are encouraging and, if confirmed, may offer new perspectives for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for this devastating disorder.
Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:5123148. doi: 10.1155/2017/5123148. Epub 2017 Aug 29.