Differential response and withdrawal profile of glucocorticoid-treated human trabecular meshwork cells

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The goal of the study was to examine secreted protein response and withdrawal profiles from cultured human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells following short- and long-term glucocorticoid treatment. Primary cultures of five human HTM cell strains isolated from 5 different individual donor eyes were tested. Confluent HTM cells were differentiated in culture media containing 1% FBS for at least one week, and then treated with Dexamethasone (Dex, 100 nM) 3 times/week for 1 or 4 weeks. Cell culture supernatants were collected 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Secretion profiles of myocilin (MYOC), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2) and fibronectin (FN) were determined by Western blot analysis and MMP2 activity by zymography. Dex treatment reduced MMP2 expression and activity, returning to normal levels shortly after Dex withdrawal in 5 HTM cell strains. All five cell strains significantly upregulated MYOC in response to Dex treatment by an average of 17-fold, but recovery to basal levels after Dex withdrawal took vastly different periods of time depending on cell strain and treatment duration. Dex treatment significantly increased FN secretion in all strains but one, which decreased FN secretion in the presence of Dex. Interestingly, secretion of FN and MYOC negatively correlated during a 4 week recovery period following 4 weeks of Dex treatment. Taken together, the time course and magnitude of response and recovery for three different secreted, extracellular matrix-associated proteins varied greatly between HTM cell strains, which may underlie susceptibility to glucocorticoid-induced ocular hypertension.HighlightsSecretory responses to dexamethasone and recovery was highly variable, depending upon the human TM cell strain tested.In 14 out of 15 cases, human TM cell strains responded to dexamethasone treatment in the same direction.MYOC and FN secretion levels were inversely related from different human TM cell strains.

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