Oertzenweg 19 b
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Ample evidence supports the theory that trabecular meshwork possesses smooth-muscle-like properties. Trabecular meshwork cells express a large number of transporters, channels and receptors, many of which are known to regulate smooth-muscle contractility. It has been shown that trabecular meshwork can be induced to contract and relax in response to pharmacological agents. In the model of the bovine eye, confirmed in some cases by experiments on primates, agents that contract trabecular meshwork reduce outflow. On the cellular level, this is coupled with depolarization and a rise in intracellular calcium. Relaxation of trabecular meshwork, on the other hand, appears to be coupled to a stimulation of the maxi-K channel, inducing hyperpolarization and a closure of L-type calcium channels. No significant differences between cells from a human and a bovine source emerged, either in classical measurements of membrane voltage, in measurements of intracellular calcium or patch-clamp experiments. Thus, pharmacological agents that relax trabecular meshwork seem promising candidates for further research - the ultimate goal being an improvement of glaucoma therapy in humans.