Hyaluronan cable formation by ocular trabecular meshwork cells

Ying Ying Sun, Kate E. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Hyaluronan (HA) in the ocular trabecular meshwork (TM) is a critical modulator of aqueous humor outflow. Individual HA strands in the pericellular matrix can coalesce to form cable-like structures, which have different functional properties. Here, we investigated HA structural configuration by TM cells in response to various stimuli known to stimulate extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling. In addition, the effects of HA cable induction on aqueous outflow resistance was determined. Primary TM cell cultures grown on tissue culture-treated plastic were treated for 12-48 h with TNFα, IL-1α, or TGFβ2. TM cells grown on silicone membranes were subject to mechanical stretch, which induces synthesis and activation of ECM proteolytic enzymes. HA structural configuration was investigated by HA binding protein (HAbp) staining and confocal microscopy. HAbp-labeled cables were induced by TNFα, TGFβ2 and mechanical stretch, but not by IL-1α. HA synthase (HAS) gene expression was quantitated by quantitative RT-PCR and HA concentration was measured by ELISA assay. By quantitative RT-PCR, HAS-1, -2, and -3 genes were differentially up-regulated and showed temporal differences in response to each treatment. HA concentration was increased in the media by TNFα, TGFβ2 and IL-1α, but mechanical stretch decreased pericellular HA concentrations. Immunofluorescence and Western immunoblotting were used to investigate the distribution and protein levels of the HA-binding proteins, tumor necrosis factor-stimulated gene-6 (TSG-6) and inter-α-inhibitor (IαI). Western immunoblotting showed that TSG-6 and IαI were increased by TNFα, TGFβ2 and IL-1α, but mechanical stretch reduced their levels. The underlying substrate appears to affect the identity of IαI·TSG-6·HA complexes since different complexes were detected when TM cells were grown on a silicone substrate compared to a rigid plastic surface. Porcine anterior segments were perfused with 10 μg/ml polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (polyI:C), a potent inducer of HA cables, and outflow rates were monitored for 72 h. PolyI:C had no significant effect on outflow resistance in porcine anterior segments perfused at physiological pressure. Collectively, HAS gene expression, HA concentration and configuration are differentially modified in response to several treatments that induce ECM remodeling in TM cells. In ocular TM cells, our data suggests that the most important determinant of HA cable formation appears to be the ratio of HA chains produced by the different HAS genes. However, the act of rearranging pericellular HA into cable-like structures does not appear to influence aqueous outflow resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Eye Research
StatePublished - 2015


  • Aqueous outflow
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Glaucoma
  • Hyaluronan
  • Trabecular meshwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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