Unmet needs in glaucoma therapy: The potential role of hydrogen sulfide and its delivery strategies

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3 Scopus citations


Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy disorder marked by progressive degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells (RGC). It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, prevailing in around 2.2% of the global population. The hallmark of glaucoma, intraocular pressure (IOP), is governed by the aqueous humor dynamics which plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of the diesease. Glaucomatous eye has an IOP of more than 22 mmHg as compared to normotensive pressure of 10-21 mmHg. Currently used treatments focus on reducing the elevated IOP through use of classes of drugs that either increase aqueous humor outflow and/or decrease its production. However, effective treatments should not only reduce IOP, but also offer neuroprotection and regeneration of RGCs. Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), a gasotransmitter with several endogenous functions in mammalian tissues, is being investigated for its potential application in glaucoma. In addition to decreasing IOP by increasing aqueous humor outflow, it scavenges reactive oxygen species, upregulates the cellular antioxidant glutathione and protects RGCs from excitotoxicity. Despite the potential of H2S in glaucoma, its delivery to anterior and posterior regions of the eye is a challenge due to its unique physicochemical properties. Firstly, development of any delivery system should not require an aqueous environment since many H2S donors are susceptible to burst release of the gas in contact with water, causing potential toxicity and adverse effects owing to its inherent toxicity at higher concentrations. Secondly, the release of the gas from the donor needs to be sustained for a prolonged period of time to reduce dosing frequency as per the requirements of regulatory bodies. Lastly, the delivery system should provide adequate bioavailability throughout its period of application. Hence, an ideal delivery system should aim to tackle all the above challenges related to barriers of ocular delivery and physicochemical properties of H2S itself. This review discusses the therapeutic potential of H2S, its delivery challenges and strategies to overcome the associated chalenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-269
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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