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Mol Vis. 2004 Feb 25;10:132-7.

Complex autoantibody repertoires in patients with glaucoma.

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Universitaets-Augenklinik, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.



Glaucoma is one of the leading causes for blindness in the world. It is characterized by a progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells. An elevated intraocular pressure cannot explain the disease in all subjects. Autoimmune mechanisms maybe involvemed in the pathogenesis of the disease. The aim of our study was to analyze the IgG autoantibody repertoires in sera of glaucomatous subjects against optic nerve antigens.


Ninety-four subjects were included in this comparative cross-sectional study of healthy (CTRL), primary-open-angle-glaucoma (POAG), ocular-hypertension (OHT), and normal-tension-glaucoma (NTG) volunteers. Sera of subjects were tested against western blots of optic nerve antigens. For each western blot, a densitograph was built by digital image analysis and subsequently a multivariate analysis of discriminance was performed.


Complex IgG autoantibody repertoires could be found in all subjects, even in healthy subjects. The multivariate analysis of discriminance can test for statistical differences between the groups using the whole complex staining pattern for the calculation. A significant difference between all groups against optic nerve antigens was found. The NTG group had the highest variance from controls (p<0.01).


This study demonstrates immunological effects in POAG and NTG and may provide further evidence for an involvement of autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of both NTG and POAG. Using the techniques presented in this study, the differences in the complex autoantibody repertoires were assessed by means of statistical analysis. Further studies are needed to determine whether these changes in autoantibodies could be helpful in the diagnosis of glaucoma.

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