The trabecular meshwork (TM) is a network of drainage canals near the front of the eye through which the aqueous humor, or fluid inside the eyeball, drains. Defects in the TM, which lead to abnormally high intraocular pressure (IOP), are thought to be one of the factors that contribute to the development of glaucoma. Dr. Tamm has identified two genes that are turned on or off as tissue culture cells are induced to differentiate into TM cells. One of these genes (Pax-6) is a known genetic communicator essential for normal eye development. It is turned off as cells differentiate. Dr. Tamm is seeking to determine whether alterations in Pax-6 might cause impaired development of the TM and cause congenital glaucoma. The other gene, uteroglobin, is normally secreted in response to steroids and can form complexes with another protein called fibronectin. By forming these complexes, uteroglobin can prevent fibronectin from aggregating in a way that causes disease. Dr. Tamm has hypothesized that uteroglobin in the TM may help to prevent fibronectin from blocking aqueous outflow. This study is an extension of an NGR-funded project to identify genes involved in TM development and function and to determine the possible role of genes in the development of glaucoma.
First published on: June 10, 2008
Last modified on: June 11, 2008