Evaluation of tear and aqueous humor level, and genetic variants of connective tissue growth factor as biomarkers for early detection of pseudoexfoliation syndrome/glaucoma
Can Demirdöğen, Birsen
Koçan Akçin, Canan
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Pseudoexfoliation syndrome (PEX) may lead to the development of pseudoexfoliative glaucoma (PEG), a potential cause of irreversible blindness, if left untreated. This type of glaucoma often presents with much higher intraocular pressure (IOP) values than observed in primary open angle glaucoma, and patients are often unaware of their condition. Therefore, early diagnosis is of utmost importance in PEX and PEG. Unfortunately, no valid objective biomarkers are available that can be used for this purpose. The excessive synthesis and deposition of elastic microfibrillar pseudoexfoliation material is observed in the pathophysiology of PEX, therefore, growth factors may play roles in this pathology. Thus, in this study, we sought to determine the roles of phenotypes and genotypes of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) as objective biomarkers for early diagnosis of PEX and PEG. Thus, we investigated possible associations involving tear and aqueous humor CTGF concentrations and four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the CTGF gene in PEX and PEG. The study was designed as a 2-year case-control study in the Turkish population. Study population was composed of 214 patients with PEG, 214 patients with PEX, and 214 age-matched controls for CTGF SNP analysis. Tear fluid study group consisted of 78 patients with PEG, 77 patients with PEX, and 78 controls. Aqueous humor analysis included 8 patients with PEG, 17 patients with PEX, and 23 controls. Tear fluid was collected using Schirmer strips, and aqueous humor samples were taken during cataract surgery. CTGF concentration was determined by ELISA, and total protein concentration was determined by Bradford assay in tear and aqueous humor samples. PCR followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used for genotyping of rs6918698 G/C and rs9399005 C/T, while real-time PCR was used for rs9402373 C/G and rs12526196 T/C. Intraocular pressure, visual field score, mean deviation, and pattern standard deviation parameters were also evaluated. CTGF concentration in tear fluid was significantly higher in PEG patients compared with controls (P = 0.001), while it was lower in PEX patients. Similarly, total protein concentration in tear fluid was significantly increased in PEG patients relative to PEX patients (P = 0.026) and controls (P = 0.004). CTGF concentration in aqueous humor did not differ markedly between the groups, whereas total protein was significantly higher in the PEG group compared with the PEX group (P = 0.012) and controls (P = 0.003). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that total protein in aqueous humor was a robust classifier for evaluating the presence of PEG against controls (Area under the curve = 0.897, P = 0.001). The genotypes of the studied SNPs were not significantly correlated with CTGF concentration in aqueous humor or tear fluid, and did not exhibit significant association with PEG or PEX. In conclusion, this was the first study to investigate tear fluid CTGF concentration in PEX and PEG, which came out not to be a good classifier for PEG or PEX. Total protein level in tear fluid and CTGF SNPs also did not predict PEG or PEX status successfully.