Background/Aims We determined the relationship between tissue mean blur rate (MT) and mitochondrial dysfunction, represented by the mitochondrial/nuclear DNA (mtDNA/nDNA) ratio. We also investigated the usefulness of these biomarkers. Methods We assessed ocular blood flow in 123 eyes of 123 patients with open-Angle glaucoma (OAG) and 37 control eyes of 37 healthy subjects by measuring MT in the optic nerve head with laser speckle flowgraphy. We measured mtDNA and nDNA with PCR, calculated the mtDNA/nDNA ratio and compared this ratio with MT using Spearman's rank test. We used multiple regression analysis to further investigate the association between MT and glaucoma in the most severe group. Results The control and the patients with glaucoma had significant differences in the mtDNA/nDNA ratio, circumpapillary retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and MT. There was no significant relationship between the mtDNA/nDNA ratio and MT in patients with OAG overall or the female patients with OAG, but there was a significant relationship between the mtDNA/nDNA ratio and MT, temporal-MT and superior-MT in male patients with severe OAG (r=-0.46, p=0.03; r=-0.51, p=0.02; r=-0.61, p<0.01, respectively). Furthermore, we found that the mtDNA/nDNA ratio was an independent contributor to temporal-MT and superior-MT in these patients (p<0.01 and p=0.03, respectively). Conclusion We found that there was a significant relationship between the mtDNA/nDNA ratio and MT in male patients with severe OAG, suggesting that the mtDNA/nDNA ratio may be a new biomarker in glaucoma and may help research on the vulnerability of these patients to mitochondrial dysfunction.
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