Fas-activated apoptosis and apoptosis mediators in human trabecular meshwork cells

Exp Eye Res. 1999 May;68(5):583-90. doi: 10.1006/exer.1998.0636.


A gradual loss of cells occurs within the human trabecular meshwork during normal aging and appears to be increased in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. The exact mechanism by which cells are lost in either condition is not known, however phagocytosis, cell migration and cell death have been suggested. Apoptosis is one method by which cell death can occur. We have examined the modulators for apoptosis within the human trabecular meshwork using both cell lines and ex-vivo dissected trabecular meshwork tissues obtained from normal donors. Using RT-PCR it was shown that mRNA for several modulators of apoptosis (Fas, Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, Bax, and ICE) are expressed by both cell lines and ex-vivo tissues. Apoptosis was stimulated to occur by treating cell lines with a monoclonal antibody (IgM) to Fas. Apoptosis was verified via morphological changes to the cells, transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling TUNEL Immunofluorescence, and DNA laddering. Control cells exposed to IgM did not undergo apoptosis. These results represent the first report of apoptosis modulators within the human trabecular meshwork and demonstrate that human trabecular meshwork cells can be stimulated to undergo apoptosis via the Fas/FasL pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Line
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors / genetics
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Humans
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Serpins / genetics
  • Trabecular Meshwork / cytology
  • Trabecular Meshwork / physiology*
  • Viral Proteins*
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • bcl-X Protein
  • fas Receptor / genetics
  • fas Receptor / immunology
  • fas Receptor / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • BAX protein, human
  • BCL2L1 protein, human
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • FASLG protein, human
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Serpins
  • Viral Proteins
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • bcl-X Protein
  • fas Receptor
  • interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme inhibitor