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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Mar;50(3):1255-63. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2706. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Cross-linked actin networks (CLANs) in the trabecular meshwork of the normal and glaucomatous human eye in situ.

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Department of Clinical Science, Unit of Ophthalmology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.



A percentage of trabecular meshwork (TM) cells in tissue and organ culture have been shown to contain cross-linked actin networks (CLANs) when exposed to dexamethasone, as have TM cultures derived from glaucomatous individuals. The purpose of this study was to determine whether CLANs exist within TM cells in situ in tissue unmanipulated by culturing, thereby eliminating the possibility that CLANs are artifacts of culture conditions, and to determine their numbers and dimensions in normal and glaucoma TM cells.


Twelve human donor eyes (five normal and seven with glaucoma) provided the TM tissue. Each eye was dissected, and the TM tissue was exposed either by microdissection (qualitative studies) or cryo-sectioning (quantitative analysis). The actin cytoskeleton was visualized using a high-affinity probe and viewed using confocal microscopy.


Qualitative examination of the microdissected tissue revealed that CLANs and CLAN-like structures were a common finding in the TM cells in every specimen, irrespective of whether they were from normal or glaucomatous eyes. CLAN size and phenotype were variable, with the same variations occurring in both normal and glaucomatous eyes. Quantitative analysis showed that there were more CLANs in glaucoma TM specimens than normal TM specimens, but this difference was not statistically significant. The mean number of CLANs/TM cell in our glaucoma tissue was estimated to be 1.03, while in the elderly normal controls it was 0.67.


This study showed for the first time that CLANs exist in cells of TM tissues from both normal and glaucomatous eyes that have not been manipulated by either tissue or organ culture procedures. It also provides quantitative data on CLAN prevalence in organized TM tissue, which indicates that CLANs are far more common than predicted (even from tissue culture) and there may be one in every cell in the glaucomatous TM in situ.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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