Effect of hydrostatic pressure gradients and Na2EDTA on permeability of human Schlemm's canal cell monolayers.
PURPOSE: Elevated intraocular pressure in those with glaucoma appears to be a function of increased resistance to movement of aqueous humor through the conventional outflow pathway. The majority of resistance in both normal and glaucomatous eyes is generated in the region between the juxtacanalicular trabecular meshwork and the inner wall of Schlemm's canal. To accommodate transient elevations in pressure, we hypothesize that conventional outflow increases rapidly due to changes in complexity of intercellular junctions between cells of the inner wall of Schlemm's canal. METHODS: To test this hypothesis we examined specifically the effects of hydrostatic pressure gradients and the calcium chelator, Na2EDTA, on permeability of cultured human Schlemm's canal cell monolayers in isolation. Human Schlemm's Canal cells were isolated, cultured and then seeded onto permeable supports and maintained in culture to allow intercellular junctions to mature. With a minimum net transendothelial electrical resistance of 10 Ohm cm2, cells were placed into an Ussing-type chamber and hydraulic conductivity was calculated from pressure and flow measurements that were continuously recorded. Simultaneously, transendothelial electrical resistance was measured manually at fixed intervals. In parallel experiments, cell margins were monitored in real time by videomicroscopy. RESULTS: During the baseline measurement period when cells were exposed to pressure but not Na2EDTA, hydraulic conductivity was constant but transendothelial electrical resistance decreased continuously at rate of 0.24 Ohm cm2/minute. After Na2EDTA treatment, no significant change in transendothelial electrical resistance was measured while, hydraulic conductivity of Schlemm's Canal monolayers increased significantly by 125%; corresponding to noticeable intercellular separations. Restoration of cell-cell contact was observed by videomicroscopy 30 minutes following washout of Na2EDTA and functionally after 2 hours. CONCLUSIONS: Responses of Schlemm's Canal cells to pressure and calcium chelators in vitro are consistent with a role for calcium sensitive junctions in outflow resistance in vivo.
Burke, AG; Zhou, W; O'Brien, ET; Roberts, BC; Stamer, WD
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