The identification and characterization of aquaporin-1 water channels and other related proteins has provided a molecular explanation for the enhanced permeability of a variety of epithelial tissues. Previously, we documented the distribution of aquaporin-1 in the human eye, which included the trabecular meshwork; the primary outflow channel for aqueous humor. The goal of this study was to determine if aquaporin-1 could be detected in cultures of human trabecular meshwork cells. Using primers specific for aquaporin-1, reverse transcription combined with polymerase chain reaction yielded a product of the appropriate size with total RNA prepared from the human trabecular meshwork cells. The presence of this product and its size (298 base pairs), is consistent with the presence of an aquaporin-1 message in these cells. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy with affinity purified antibodies against a fusion protein containing the carboxy tail of aquaporin-1 showed specific labeling of the plasma membrane and immunoblotting identified a band of Mr 28,000 which agrees with the molecular size of aquaporin-1. The presence of aquaporin-1 in human trabecular meshwork cells, the predominant cell-type of the primary outflow region of the human eye, suggests that water channels may be involved with the movement of aqueous fluid out of the eye. In addition, the existence of aquaporin-1 on cultures of human trabecular meshwork cells provides an in vitro model to study the endogenous expression of aquaporin-1 and its possible role in the regulation of aqueous outflow.