Cross-linked actin networks (CLANs) in glaucoma
One of the major causes of decreased vision, irreversible vision loss and blindness worldwide is glaucoma. Increased intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor associated with glaucoma and its molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. The trabecular meshwork (TM) is the primary site of injury in glaucoma, and its dysfunction results in elevated IOP. The glaucomatous TM has increased extracellular matrix deposition as well as cytoskeletal rearrangements referred to as cross-linked actin networks (CLANs) that consist of dome like structures consisting of hubs and spokes. CLANs are thought to play a role in increased aqueous humor outflow resistance and increased IOP by creating stiffer TM cells and tissue. CLANs are inducible by glucocorticoids (GCs) and TGFβ2 in confluent TM cells and TM tissues. The signaling pathways of these induction agents give insight into the possible mechanisms of CLAN formation, but to date, the mechanism of CLANs regulation by these pathways has yet to be determined. Understanding the role CLANs play in IOP elevation and their mechanisms of induction and regulation may lead to novel treatment options to help prevent or intervene in glaucomatous damage to the trabecular meshwork.