Lipoxins in the treatment of glaucoma

Key points

  • Glaucoma is the most common neurodegenerative disease defined by the loss of retinal ganglion cells.
  • Glaucoma is not defined by intraocular pressure (IOP), though IOP is a contributory factor to ganglion cell loss and lowering it is still the main mode of management.
  • Ganglion cell axons are surrounded by other cells called astrocytes.
  • In the healthy eye, astrocytes secrete lipoxin but stop doing so in response to insult, such as ischaemia.
  • Lipoxins are small pro-resolving lipid mediators found in the omega-6 pathway along with prostaglandins, the latter currently an important way of treating glaucoma.
  • Lipoxins are found throughout the body, as either type A or B, and mediate in inflammation and protect neurones (neuroprotection), with type B4 secreted by astrocytes being more potent than A.
  • Maintenance of the neuroprotection offered to retinal ganglion cells by lipoxin B4 will prevent their death and may stop glaucoma progression.