Pseudoexfoliation syndrome (PEX) is the most common clinical precursor of open-angle glaucoma. Recent studies have shown that pseudoexfoliative material is widely distributed throughout the body, including blood vessels. The aim of our study was to evaluate endothelial function in the brachial artery of patients with pseudoexfoliation syndrome.
We prospectively examined 23 patients with PEX (mean age, 70 ± 8 years) and 20 healthy age- and sex-matched individuals (mean age, 68 ± 9 years) as a control group. Brachial artery endothelial function was assessed by vascular response to reactive hyperemia (flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and sublingual nitroglycerin (NTG-mediated dilation) using high-resolution ultrasound. Flow-mediated and NTG-induced dilation were expressed as the percent change in diameter after reactive hyperemia and after NTG administration relative to the baseline value, respectively. Patients with cardiovascular disease and other conditions associated with endothelial dysfunction were excluded.
When compared with controls, patients with PEX had significantly lower flow-mediated dilation (4.5 ± 2.8 versus 8.2 ± 3.7, P = 0.01) and NTG-mediated dilation (10.9 ± 3.1 versus 15.8 ± 3.8, P = 0.0001). Flow-mediated dilation and NTG-mediated dilation were similar in PEX patients with glaucoma (n = 11) and without glaucoma (n = 12). Flow-mediated and NTG-mediated dilation did not correlate with any measured parameter in any patient or control subject.
The findings indicate that systemic endothelial function is impaired in PEX syndrome patients.
2006 by the International Heart Journal Association