Cochlin in the eye: functional implications

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2007 Sep;26(5):453-69. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2007.06.002. Epub 2007 Jun 22.


Aqueous humor is actively produced in the ciliary epithelium of the anterior chamber and has important functions for the eye. Under normal physiological conditions, the inflow and outflow of the aqueous humor are tightly regulated, but in the pathologic state this balance is lost. Aqueous outflow involves structures of the anterior chamber and experiences most resistance at the level of the trabecular meshwork (TM) that acts as a filter. The modulation of the TM structure regulates the filter and its mechanism remains poorly understood. Proteomic analyses have identified cochlin, a protein of poorly understood function, in the glaucomatous TM but not in healthy control TM from human cadaver eyes. The presence of cochlin has subsequently been confirmed by Western and immunohistochemical analyses. Functionally, cochlin undergoes multimerization induced by shear stress and other changes in the microenvironment. Cochlin along with mucopolysaccharide deposits has been found in the TM of glaucoma patients and in the inner ear of subjects affected by the hearing disorder DNFA9, a late-onset, progressive disease that also involves alterations in fluid shear regimes. In vitro, cochlin induces aggregation of primary TM cells suggesting a role in cell adhesion, possibly in mechanosensation, and in modulation of the TM filter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glaucoma / metabolism*
  • Hearing Disorders / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Trabecular Meshwork / metabolism


  • COCH protein, human
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Proteins