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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2002 Jan;43(1):170-5.

Effect of high glucose on fibronectin expression and cell proliferation in trabecular meshwork cells.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.



Increased fibronectin accumulation in the trabecular meshwork of glaucomatous eyes may contribute to the resistance of aqueous outflow and the development of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Because the glucose level is increased in the aqueous humor of patients with diabetes, this study was conducted to determine whether a high-glucose condition alters fibronectin expression and contributes to cell loss in trabecular meshwork.


The fibronectin mRNA level was determined using RT-PCR in bovine trabecular meshwork cells grown in normal (5 mM) or high (30 mM)-glucose medium for 7 days, and cell counts were measured during this period. Distribution and the relative amount of fibronectin protein were determined in these cells by immunofluorescence microscopy and Western blot analysis.


Fibronectin mRNA level in cells grown in high-glucose medium was significantly upregulated two- to threefold compared with cells grown in normal medium (P < 0.05). In cells grown in high-glucose medium, fibronectin immunofluorescence was more intense, and the relative amount of fibronectin protein was significantly increased (131% +/- 15% of control, P < 0.05) compared with the amount in cells grown in normal medium. A moderate decrease in cell number was observed in cells grown in high-glucose medium (78% +/- 7% of control, P < 0.05)


These findings indicate that a high glucose level in aqueous humor of patients with diabetes may increase fibronectin syntheses and accumulation in trabecular meshwork and accelerate the depletion of trabecular meshwork cells, a characteristic feature of the outflow system in POAG. The striking similarity between high glucose-induced alterations in trabecular meshwork cells and those of vascular endothelial cells may represent a common biochemical link in the pathogenesis of POAG and diabetic microangiopathy.

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