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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


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The Potential Role of Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 (Nrf2) in Glaucoma: A Review

Mingxuan Wang, Jia Li, Yajuan Zheng

(Department of Ophthalmology, The Second Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e921514

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.921514

ABSTRACT: Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) acts as a regulator of many biological processes and plays an essential role in preventing oxidation, inflammation, and fibrosis. In the past 20 years, there has been increasing research on the role of Nrf2 and oxidative stress in human glaucoma, including the roles of inflammation, trabecular meshwork cells, retinal ganglion cells, Tenon’s capsule, antioxidants, fibrosis, and noncoding RNAs. Studies have shown that the upregulation of Nrf2 can reduce damage from oxidative stress in the trabecular meshwork cells and the retinal ganglion cells, reduce fibrosis in Tenon’s capsule fibroblasts, which may reduce the progression of fibrosis after surgery for glaucoma. The regulatory roles of Nrf2, microRNAs (miRNAs), long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), and exogenous compounds on trabecular meshwork cells (TMCs) and retinal ganglion cells have also been studied. The use of Nrf2 agonists, including noncoding RNAs, control the expression of Nrf2 through signaling pathways that continue to be investigated to identify effective treatments to improve clinical outcome following surgery for glaucoma. This review of publications between 1999 and 2019 aims to focus on the potential mechanisms of Nrf2 in the occurrence and development of glaucoma and the prognosis following surgical treatment. Also, several factors that induce the expression of Nrf2 in trabecular meshwork cells, retinal ganglion cells, and human Tenon’s capsule fibroblasts are discussed.

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