A generalized peripheral endothelial dysfunction has been demonstrated in patients suffering from glaucoma (ocular hypertension) and related glaucoma related eye disorders. One important biological molecule belonging to the complex and pleiotropic endogenous lipid signaling system that is activated “on demand” following a perturbation of cell homeostasis to aid in the re-establishment of this homeostasis is the nutraceutical palmitoylethanolamide. PEA exerst an important role in endothelial protection.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, single-center study was conducted between September 2010 and March 2012, at the Ophthalmology Unit of University of Bologna, 40 untreated glaucoma patients and 40 healthy age-matched controls were enrolled. None of the healthy controls in this study was treated.
Patients and controls were assigned randomly to one of the two parallel treatment arms at baseline: 300 mg PEA or a matching placebo, per os, twice a day, for a period of 90 days.
All of the patients who were included at the onset of the study completed the study. At baseline, endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) values of the OH patients were significantly lower than FMD values of the controls.
Results: patients who were undergoing PEA therapy showed a significant improvement in FMD values (8.46 ± 1.09% vs. 6.08 ± 0.62%, P < 0.001, r = 0.96) and a significant IOP reduction 22.18 ± 1.26 vs. 23.03 ± 0.88 mm Hg, P 0.05 and 22.95 ± 0.90 vs. 23.25 ± 0.76 mm Hg, P > 0.05,
In their study, the ophtalmologists could demonstrated that 600 mg PEA administered daily over a period of three months may improved systemic endothelial function in patients with ocular hypertension with no local side effects or systemic adverse events, and they showed that its protective action may last longer than its intake period as the effect on IOP.