Glaucoma is the second leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world with a higher prevalence in those of African Descent (AD) and Hispanic Ethnicity (HE) than in those of European Descent (ED). The objective of this study was to investigate the pressure dependent biomechanical response of the lamina cribrosa (LC) in normal human donor tissues from these racioethnic backgrounds. Pressure inflation tests were performed on 24 human LCs (n = 9 AD, n = 6 ED, and n = 9 HE) capturing the second harmonic generation (SHG) signal of collagen at 5, 15, 30, and 45 mmHg from an anterior view. A non-rigid image registration technique was utilized to determine the 3D displacement field in each LC from which 3D Green strains were calculated. The peak shear strain in the superior quadrant of the LC in those of ED was significantly higher than in those of AD and HE (p-value = 0.005 & 0.034, respectively) where ED = 0.017 [IQR = 0.012-0.027], AD = 0.0002 [IQR = -0.001-0.007], HE = 0.0016 [IQR = -0.002-0.012]). There were also significant differences in the regional strain heterogeneity in those of AD and HE that were absent in those of ED. This work represents, to our knowledge, the first ex-vivo study identifying significant differences in the biomechanical response of the LC in populations at increased risk of glaucoma. Future work will be necessary to assess if and how these differences play a role in predisposing those of Hispanic Ethnicity and African Descent to the onset and/or progression of primary open angle glaucoma. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Glaucoma is the second leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world and occurs more frequently in those of African Descent and Hispanic Ethnicity than in those of European Descent. To date, there has been no ex-vivo study quantifying differences in the biomechanical response of the non-glaucomatous lamina cribrosa (LC) across these racioethnic backgrounds. In this work we report, for the first time, differences in the pressure dependent biomechanical response of LC across different racioethnic groups as quantified using nonlinear optical microscopy. This study lays the foundation for future work investigating if and how these differences may play a role in predisposing those at increased risk to the onset and/or progression of primary open angle glaucoma.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.