Reduced Cerebral Blood Flow in the Visual Cortex and Its Correlation With Glaucomatous Structural Damage to the Retina in Patients With Mild to Moderate Primary Open-angle Glaucoma

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Altered ocular and cerebral vascular autoregulation and vasoreactivity have been demonstrated in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). In the present study, we investigated the correlations between reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF) in early and higher-tier visual cortical areas and glaucomatous changes in the retinas of patients with mild to moderate POAG.

Patients and Methods:

3-dimensional pseudocontinuous arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging at 3 T was performed in 20 normal controls and 15 mild to moderate POAG patients. Regions of interest were selected based on the Population-Average, Landmark- and Surface-based (PALS) atlas of the human cerebral cortex. Arterial spin labelling–measured CBF values were extracted in the early and higher-tier visual cortical areas and were compared between patients and controls using a 2-sample t test. Pearson correlation analyses were used to assess the correlations between reduced CBF and cup-to-disc ratio, retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, and ganglion cell complex thickness.


Reduced CBF in early visual cortical areas (V1, V2, and ventral posterior area) and in the higher-tier visual left lateral occipital cortex was presented in mild to moderate POAG patients compared with controls. Furthermore, reduced CBF of the right areas V2 and ventral posterior area was correlated with cup-to-disc ratio, total ganglion cell complex thickness, and average retinal nerve fiber layer thickness.


In conclusion, the complex pathologic progress of POAG includes abnormal cerebral perfusion within the visual cortex since the mild to moderate disease stages. The association of cerebral perfusion changes with alterations of the optic disc and the retina may contribute to the early diagnosis of POAG.

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