Crosstalk Between Transforming Growth Factor Beta-2 and Toll-Like Receptor 4 in the Trabecular Meshwork




Medina-Ortiz, Wanda E.
Hernandez, Humberto
Curry, Stacy
Luan, Tomi
Clark, Abbot
McDowell, Colleen


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Purpose: The trabecular meshwork (TM) plays an important role in the regulation of aqueous humor outflow and intraocular pressure (IOP). Regulation of the ECM by TGFβ2 in the TM and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in fibrogenesis has been extensively studied. Here, we investigate the role of TGFβ2-TLR4 signaling crosstalk and BMP/activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI) in the regulation of the TM ECM and ocular hypertension. Methods: TLR4 expression was evaluated in cross-sections of human donor eyes, primary human TM cells, and dissected mouse TM rings. TM cells were treated with TGFβ2 (5ng/ml), TLR4 inhibitor (TAK-242, 15mM), and/or TLR4 ligand (cFN-EDA, 10mg/mL). A/J (n=13), AKR/J (n=7), BALBc/J (n=8), C3H/HeJ (n=20), and C3H/HeOuJ (n=10) were injected intravitreally with Ad5.hTGFβ2. Further, B6;129S1-Bambitm1Jian/J mice were injected intravitreally with either Ad5.TGFβ2 (n=10), Ad5.Cre (n=9), or Ad5.TGFβ2 + Ad5.Cre (n=10). The uninjected contralateral eyes served as controls. Mouse TM (MTM) cells were isolated from B6;129S1-Bambitm1Jian/J mice using magnetic beads and transduced with Ad5.TGFβ2 or Ad5.Cre in cell culture. Results: TLR4 is expressed in the human and mouse TM. Inhibition of TLR4 signaling in the presence of TGFβ2 decreases fibronectin expression. Activation of TLR4 by cFN-EDA in the presence of TGFβ2 further increases fibronectin, laminin, and collagen-1 expression, and TLR4 signaling inhibition blocks this effect. Ad5.hTGFβ2 induces ocular hypertension in wild-type mice but has no effect in Tlr4 mutant (C3H/HeJ) mice. Ad5.Cre, Ad5.TGFβ2, or Ad5.TGFβ2 + Ad5.Cre each induced ocular hypertension significantly throughout the time course compared to uninjected control eyes. Bambi knockdown by Ad5.Cre leads to increased fibronectin expression in MTM cells. Conclusions: Here we show a TGFβ2-TLR4 crosstalk pathway that we hypothesize is regulated by TGFβ2 negative regulator BAMBI. Conditional knockdown of BAMBI in the TM with Ad5.Cre induces fibronectin expression, reduces aqueous humor outflow facility and causes ocular hypertension. These data provide a novel pathway involved in the development of glaucomatous TM damage and provide potential new targets to lower IOP.