Impact of aromatase absence on murine intraocular pressure and retinal ganglion cells. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):3280.Abstract.
We hypothesize that aromatase, an enzyme that regulates estrogen production, plays a significant role in the control of intraocular pressure (IOP) and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). To begin to test our hypothesis, we examined the impact of aromatase absence, which completely eliminates estrogen synthesis, in male and female mice. Studies were performed with adult, age-matched wild type (WT) and aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice. IOP was measured in a masked fashion in both eyes of conscious mice at 12 and 24 weeks of age. Retinas were obtained and processed for RGC counting with a confocal microscope. IOP levels in both 12- and 24-week old female ArKO mice were significantly higher than those of age- and sex-matched WT controls. The mean increase in IOP was 7.9% in the 12-week-, and 19.7% in the 24-week-old mice, respectively. These changes were accompanied by significant 9% and 7% decreases in RGC numbers in the ArKO female mice, relative to controls, at 12- and 24-weeks, respectively. In contrast, aromatase deficiency did not lead to an increased IOP in male mice. There was a significant reduction in RGC counts in the 12-, but not 24-, week-old male ArKO mice, as compared to their age- and sex-matched WT controls. Overall, our findings show that aromatase inhibition in females is associated with elevated IOP and reduced RGC counts.