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Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy characterized by degeneration of neurons due to loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). High intraocular pressure (HIOP), the main risk factor, causes the optic nerve damage. However, the precise mechanism of HIOP-induced RGC death is not yet completely understood. This study was conducted to determine apoptosis of RGC-5 cells induced by elevated hydrostatic pressures, explore whether laminin is associated with apoptosis under pressure, whether laminin can protect RGCs from apoptosis and affirm the mechanism that regulates the process of RGCs survival.RGC-5 cells were exposed to 0, 20, 40, and 60 mmHg in a pressurized incubator for 6, 12, and 24 h, respectively. The effect of elevated hydrostatic pressure on RGC-5 cells was measured by Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate/propidium iodide staining, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, and Western blotting of cleaved caspase-3 protein. Location and expression of laminin were detected by immunofluorescence. The expression of β1-integrin, phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and protein kinase B (PKB, or AKT) were investigated with real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting analysis.Elevated hydrostatic pressure induced apoptosis in cultured RGC-5 cells. Pressure with 40 mmHg for 24 h induced a maximum apoptosis. Laminin was declined in RGC-5 cells after exposing to 40 mmHg for 24 h. After pretreating with laminin, RGC-5 cells survived from elevated pressure. Furthermore, β1-integrin and phosphorylation of FAK and AKT were increased compared to 40 mmHg group.The data show apoptosis tendency of RGC-5 cells with elevated hydrostatic pressure. Laminin can protect RGC-5 cells against high pressure via β1-integrin/FAK/AKT signaling pathway. These results suggest that the decreased laminin of RGC-5 cells might be responsible for apoptosis induced by elevated hydrostatic pressure, and laminin or activating β1-integrin/FAK/AKT pathway might be potential treatments to prevent RGC loss in glaucomatous optic neuropathy.