Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Abbot F. Clark
In a normal functioning eye, the aqueous humor, a fluid secreted by the ciliary body, drains through the trabecular meshwork (TM), a multilayered tissue in the anterior segment of the eye. The TM is the initial site of damage in glaucoma. Damaged TM results in higher aqueous humor outflow resistance and causes elevated IOP, the latter of which leads to optic nerve damage. Numerous clinical studies have shown that lowering IOP can prevent neuronal damage and slow/stop the progression of the disease. In the glaucomatous TM (GTM), there is excessive extracellular matrix protein deposition, cytoskeletal changes and altered cell function. The transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) pathway is activated by TGFβ2 which has been found to be more abundant in the GTM. Additionally, formation of cross-linked actin networks (CLANs) in the GTM is increased compared to non-glaucoma TM. Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), glucocorticoid-induced glaucoma (GIG) and glucocorticoid-induced ocular hypertension (GCOHT), share similar pathophysiologies. GC-OHT differs from POAG in that about 40% of the population develops GC-OHT after topical treatment with glucocorticoids however, the mechanism that differentiates steroid responders from non-responders is unknown.
In our studies we have explored trabecular meshwork molecular pathogenic mechanisms that are responsible for the disease pathology. We have studied epigenetics as a regulatory mechanism for increasing TGFβ2 expression. We have also used proteomics to determine proteins that are associated with CLANs. Lastly, we studied genes that are differentially expressed in glucocorticoid responders versus non-responders in our bovine model of GC-OHT. Overall, our research has enhanced our understanding of the TM and the molecular mechanisms that play a role in glaucoma. We hope to use this information to find new disease modifying therapies.
Bermudez, J. Y.
"Exploring Trabecular Meshwork Molecular Pathogenic Mechanisms In Primary Open Angle Glaucoma And Glucocorticoid Induced Glaucoma" Fort Worth, Tx: University of North Texas Health Science Center;