Clinical, structural and molecular phototherapy effects of laser irradiation on the trabecular meshwork of human glaucomatous eyes

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1990;228(1):90-100. doi: 10.1007/BF02764299.


The effects of argon laser trabeculoplasty (LTP) on intraocular pressure (IOP), outflow facility, the morphology of the trabecular meshwork (TM), and the pattern of extracellular glycoprotein fibronectin in trabeculum were studied in 46 eyes of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). The LTP was done with informed consent, anticipating that trabeculectomy would be carried out at a scheduled time (2 h to several months following laser therapy). We found that the magnitude of IOP reduction and the improvement in the facility of outflow achieved are directly dependent on the time course after LTP and laser-induced structural changes in trabecular tissue. Light microscopic and immunohistochemical evaluations of the TM specimens at earlier intervals after LTP revealed evidence of heat effects, with disruption and shrinkage of the TM collagenous components and accumulation of fibronectin deposits in the aqueous drainage channels as compared with the TMs of matched patients with POAG who did not receive laser treatment. Within 24 h after LTP, proteins of glaucomatous TMs excised from patients incorporated increased amounts of [3H]-leucine radioactive label; however, the amount of [3H]-leucine-labeled material was significantly depressed in later periods of evaluation. The specimens obtained at longer intervals after LTP showed partial or total occlusion of the intertrabecular spaces by extracellular debris; however, the amount of trabecular fibronectin was not significantly different from that measured 24 h after LTP. At least two potential mechanisms are proposed for the TM tissue response to laser treatment, including heat-induced stretching of the collagen in lamellae and fibronectin-mediated attachment of beams supporting an adhesive tightening of the trabecular components caused by LTP. The changes in laser-induced tissue responses appear to be the result of morphological repair of irradiation-injured trabecular tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anterior Chamber
  • Aqueous Humor / metabolism
  • Argon
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / radiation effects*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intraocular Pressure / radiation effects
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Leucine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Trabecular Meshwork / radiation effects*
  • Trabeculectomy*
  • Tritium
  • Wound Healing


  • Fibronectins
  • Tritium
  • Argon
  • Leucine