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Front Mol Neurosci. 2014 May 19;7:38. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2014.00038. eCollection 2014.

Regulation of intraocular pressure by soluble and membrane guanylate cyclases and their role in glaucoma.

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Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota Medical School Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Department of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma Service Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, USA.


Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy characterized by visual field defects that ultimately lead to irreversible blindness (Alward, 2000; Anderson et al., 2006). By the year 2020, an estimated 80 million people will have glaucoma, 11 million of which will be bilaterally blind. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is currently the only risk factor amenable to treatment. How IOP is regulated and can be modulated remains a topic of active investigation. Available therapies, mostly geared toward lowering IOP, offer incomplete protection, and POAG often goes undetected until irreparable damage has been done, highlighting the need for novel therapeutic approaches, drug targets, and biomarkers (Heijl et al., 2002; Quigley, 2011). In this review, the role of soluble (nitric oxide (NO)-activated) and membrane-bound, natriuretic peptide (NP)-activated guanylate cyclases that generate the secondary signaling molecule cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in the regulation of IOP and in the pathophysiology of POAG will be discussed.


glaucoma; guanylate cyclase; intraocular pressure; natriuretic peptides; nitric oxide; open-angle

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