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The trabecular meshwork is considered a smooth muscle like tissue contributing to aqueous outflow regulation and thus to regulation of intraocular pressure. An elevation in intraocular pressure is one of the greatest risk factors for most forms of glaucoma. We assume that contraction of trabecular meshwork reduces aquous humor outflow and thus enhances intraocular pressure, whereas relaxation exerts the opposite effect. The present paper supports the hypothesis of the trabecular meshwork beeing a smooth muscle-like tissue. We perform measurements of isometric force in isolated bovine trabecular meshwork strips. Contractility of this tissue is induced by carbachol or endothelin-1. The contractile force is sucessfully inhibited by ML-7, a highly specific inhibitor of myosin light chain kinase. The contraction is also reduced in the presence of the RhoA kinase inhibitor Y-27632. We further describe the protein expression of smooth muscle myosin and its regulatory kinase, the myosin light chain kinase, in human and bovine trabecular meshwork cells. Additionally, the serine phosphorylation of myosin light chain kinase is shown. These data indicate that the trabecular meshwork expresses major contractility regulating proteins which are involved in tissue function. Inhibition of the signaling pathways which lead to myosin phosphorylation causes inhibition of contractile force in trabecular meshwork. According to our concept of aqueous humor outflow regulation, trabecular meshwork relaxing substances appear to be ideal antiglaucomatous drugs, leading to increased outflow facility.