Aqueous humor stimulates the migration of human trabecular meshwork cells in vitro

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Apr;41(5):1091-8.


Purpose: Depletion of trabecular meshwork cell numbers is a feature of the outflow system in aging and in primary open-angle glaucoma. It is possible that migration stimulated by factors present in aqueous humor may contribute to the cell loss. This investigation assessed the chemoattractant potential of glaucomatous and nonglaucomatous human aqueous humor and fibronectin, one of its constituents, on a range of cultured trabecular meshwork cell lines.

Methods: Migration was assessed in 48-well modified Boyden chambers. The potential migratory stimulants were soluble fibronectin and glaucomatous and nonglaucomatous aqueous humor. The glaucomatous aqueous samples were collected from patients undergoing trabeculotomy for primary open-angle glaucoma and the normal aqueous from normal bovine eyes and patients undergoing cataract surgery. The target cell types were normal human and bovine meshwork cells grown from explants and two human transformed meshwork cell lines from a normal (HTM-5) and a glaucomatous (HTM-3) source.

Results: Soluble fibronectin stimulated all the target cells to migrate with an optimal concentration ranging from 1 to 30 microg/ml, and Zigmond Hirsch checkerboard analysis indicated that both chemotaxis and chemokinesis took place. All the aqueous humor samples stimulated migration of the meshwork cell lines at an optimal concentration of 200 microl/ml. Glaucomatous aqueous humor stimulated a greater migratory response than nonglaucomatous aqueous for two of the four target cell types (P < or = 0.03). Neutralization of the fibronectin content of nonglaucomatous and glaucomatous aqueous by addition of excess anti-fibronectin antibody indicated that fibronectin could account for 35% to 80% of the migratory activity of the aqueous.

Conclusions: Aqueous humor contains potentially powerful chemoattractants for trabecular meshwork cells. The activity of one of these constituents, fibronectin, has been accounted for by this study. Glaucomatous aqueous appears to be as good and in some cases a better migratory stimulant than nonglaucomatous aqueous in vitro. The migratory evidence points to a trend that may help to explain cell loss in the aging meshwork and possibly some of the extra loss in primary open-angle glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor / physiology*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fibronectins / pharmacology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / metabolism*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / surgery
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Trabecular Meshwork / cytology*


  • Fibronectins