After investigating the metabolic alterations associated with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and cataract in human aqueous humor, researchers in China identified several valuable metabolic biomarkers and pathways that may facilitate an improved understanding of POAG’s pathogenesis. The study conducted an analysis of aqueous humor samples of 16 POAG patients undergoing surgical treatments and 24 patients undergoing cataract surgeries.

The researchers found 14 metabolic biomarkers as potential aqueous humor biomarkers for POAG. They noted six metabolites that were decreased in POAG patients compared with cataract patients: biotin, glucose-1-phosphate, methylmalonic acid, N-cyclohexylformamide 1, sorbitol and spermidine 2. The other eight were increased in POAG compared with cataract patients: 2-mercaptoethanesulfonic acid 2, D-erythronolactone 2, D-Talose 1, dehydroascorbic acid 2, galactose 1, mannose 1, pelargonic acid and ribitol.

All of these markers have the potential to discriminate between POAG and controls, the researchers said in their paper.

In pathway analysis, Biotin metabolism was particularly impacted, implying that these metabolic markers play important roles in the regulation of this pathway.

The study concluded that the identification of novel metabolite markers for POAG in human aqueous humor provides insights into potential new pathogenic pathways for this vision-threatening condition and could potentially lead to new drug development research lines.

Pan CW, Ke C, Chen Q, et al. Differential metabolic markers associated with primary open-angle glaucoma and cataract in human aqueous humor. BMC Ophthalmol. May 6, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].