Myocilin-associated exosomes in human ocular samples

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Mutations in myocilin result in ocular hypertension, likely due to decreased drainage of aqueous humor through the trabecular meshwork. Since less myocilin is found in the aqueous humor of those with disease-causing mutations, understanding myocilin's role in the aqueous humor is of clinical importance. Recently, myocilin was shown to exit cultured trabecular meshwork cells in association with shed vesicles called exosomes. To examine relevance of this finding in a physiological setting, the present study examined three different types of ocular samples for the presence of myocilin-associated exosomes. Using differential centrifugation steps, we found myocilin associated with exosomes isolated from effluent collected from human anterior segments in organ culture and aqueous humor obtained from human cadaveric eyes or from patients undergoing excisional surgery. Similar to results with cultured cells, myocilin associated predominately with exosomes in fresh samples, appeared mostly soluble at later times, and had biochemical properties (density of 1.13–1.19 g/ml in linear sucrose gradient) similar to those characteristics of exosomes. These data indicate that exosomes are present and may facilitate the transport of myocilin into the extracellular space of human ocular cells.

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