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Unveiling enigmatic essence of Sphingolipids: A promising avenue for glaucoma treatment.

Vision Research 2024 May 28
Treatment of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness, remains challenging. The apoptotic loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in glaucoma is the pathological hallmark. Current treatments often remain suboptimal as they aim to halt RGC loss secondary to reduction of intraocular pressure. The pathophysiological targets for exploring direct neuroprotective approaches, therefore are highly relevant. Sphingolipids have emerged as significant target molecules as they are not only the structural components of various cell constituents, but they also serve as signaling molecules that regulate molecular pathways involved in cell survival and death. Investigations have shown that a critical balance among various sphingolipid species, particularly the ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate play a role in deciding the fate of the cell. In this review we briefly discuss the metabolic interconversion of sphingolipid species to get an insight into "sphingolipid rheostat", the dynamic balance among metabolites. Further we highlight the role of sphingolipids in the key pathophysiological mechanisms that lead to glaucomatous loss of RGCs. Lastly, we summarize the potential drug candidates that have been investigated for their neuroprotective effects in glaucoma via their effects on sphingolipid axis.

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