The trabecular meshwork (TM) is an ocular tissue that maintains intraocular pressure (IOP) within a physiologic range. Glaucoma patients have reduced TM cellularity and, frequently, elevated IOP. To establish a stem cell-based approach to restoring TM function and normalizing IOP, human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) were induced to differentiate to TM cells in vitro. These ADSC-TM cells displayed a TM cell-like genotypic profile, became phagocytic, and responded to dexamethasone stimulation, characteristic of TM cells. After transplantation into naive mouse eyes, ADSCs and ADSC-TM cells integrated into the TM tissue, expressed TM cell markers, and maintained normal IOP, outflow facility, and extracellular matrix. Cell migration and affinity results indicated that the chemokine pair CXCR4/SDF1 may play an important role in ADSC-TM cell homing. Our study demonstrates the possibility of applying autologous or allogeneic ADSCs and ADSC-TM cells as a potential treatment to restore TM structure and function in glaucoma.
Keywords: adipose stem cells; differentiation; homing; integration; trabecular meshwork.
© 2020 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.