The protein cochlin, most recognised in concentrated levels within the inner ear, is present in the eye and has an effect on glaucoma, according to researchers at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
They found that levels of cochlin, a protein product of the COCH gene, rise just prior to the elevation of intraocular pressure in the eye. An increase in intraocular pressure is a common precursor to glaucoma.
The researchers measured cochlin in experimental models and found peak levels of the protein precede clinical glaucoma symptoms. “The ability to detect and quantify cochlin in the local tissues of the eye prior to clinical detection of the disease offers potential diagnostic and prognostic value,” said Professor of Ophthalmology Sanjoy Bhattacharya. “This discovery paves the way for physicians and researchers to record levels of protein and lipid biomarkers in the eyes for progressive blinding eye diseases such as glaucoma.”
The findings were shared in the June 5 online edition of Scientific Report, a Nature Group publication. www.nature.com/srep/2015/150605/srep11092/full/srep11092.html.