Research Fellow: Sarah Anis, M.D.
POAG (Primary Open angle Glaucoma) is the second major cause of blindness in this country. More than 2 million Americans have this type of glaucoma, with 100,000 of them being blind. The clinical finding of an increase in intraocular pressure, death of optic nerve cells, and blindness characterize POAG. At present, POAG has no known cause. It most likely represents many types of biochemical defects of genetic origin. POAG may also relate to the overall aging process.
Many different factors exist in the body and these regulate all aspects of cell development, maintenance, and repair after injury. Little is known about how factors in the front of the eye are affected by glaucoma. One of them is CD-44 receptor. It is the first protein marker identified for POAG. The CD44 receptor normally supports interactions between cells and the extra cellular space. CD44 also influences cell survival and migration. CD44 is increased in aqueous humor in POAG. Consequently, showing changes of CD44 in POAG might be able to reveal new information about the disease process.
We plan to examine the concentration of CD-44 in aqueous humor, the fluid in the front compartment of the eye, in eyes with glaucoma undergoing surgery for glaucoma and in eyes without glaucoma undergoing surgery undergoing cataract extraction.
We hypothesize that there will be CD44 present in aqueous humor that differ between normal and glaucoma patients.