Modeling the Endothelial Glycocalyx Layer in the Human Conventional Aqueous Outflow Pathway

Alireza Karimi, Mahdi Halabian, Reza Razaghi, J. Crawford Downs, Mary J. Kelley, Ted S. Acott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A layer of proteoglycans and glycoproteins known as glycocalyx covers the surface of the trabecular meshwork (TM), juxtacanalicular tissue (JCT), and Schlemm’s canal (SC) inner wall of the conventional aqueous outflow pathway in the eye. This has been shown to play a role in the mechanotransduction of fluid shear stress and in the regulation of the outflow resistance. The outflow resistance in the conventional outflow pathway is the main determinant of the intraocular pressure (IOP) through an active, two-way, fluid–structure interaction coupling between the outflow tissues and aqueous humor. A 3D microstructural finite element (FE) model of a healthy human eye TM/JCT/SC complex with interspersed aqueous humor was constructed. A very thin charged double layer that represents the endothelial glycocalyx layer covered the surface of the elastic outflow tissues. The aqueous humor was modeled as electroosmotic flow that is charged when it is in contact with the outflow tissues. The electrical–fluid–structure interaction (EFSI) method was used to couple the charged double layer (glycocalyx), fluid (aqueous humor), and solid (outflow tissues). When the IOP was elevated to 15 mmHg, the maximum aqueous humor velocity in the EFSI model was decreased by 2.35 mm/s (9%) compared to the fluid–structure interaction (FSI) model. The charge or electricity in the living human conventional outflow pathway generated by the charged endothelial glycocalyx layer plays a minor biomechanical role in the resultant stresses and strains as well as the hydrodynamics of the aqueous humor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3925
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Schlemm’s canal
  • aqueous outflow resistance
  • electro-fluid–structure interaction
  • endothelial glycocalyx layer
  • juxtacanalicular tissue
  • trabecular meshwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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