Nanofibrous PCL-Based Human Trabecular Meshwork for Aqueous Humor Outflow Studies
Maria Bikuna-Izagirre 1 2 , Javier Aldazabal 1 2 3 , Leire Extramiana 4 , Javier Moreno-Montañés 4 , Elena Carnero 4 , Jacobo Paredes 1 2 3
Primary open-angle glaucoma is characterized by the progressive degeneration of the optic nerve, with the high intraocular pressure (IOP) being one of the main risk factors.
The human trabecular meshwork (HTM), specifically the juxtacanalicular tissue (JCT), is responsible for placing resistance to the aqueous humor (AH) outflow and the resulting IOP control.
Currently, the lack of a proper in vitro JCT model and the complexity of three-dimensional models impede advances in understanding the relationship between AH outflow and HTM degeneration. Therefore, we design an in vitro JCT model using a polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibrous scaffold, which supports cells to recapitulate the functional JCT morphology and allow the study of outflow physiology.
Mechanical and morphological characterizations of the electrospun membranes were performed, and human trabecular meshwork cells were seeded over the scaffolds. The engineered JCT was characterized by scanning electron microscopy, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and immunochemistry assays staining HTM cell markers and proteins.
A pressure-sensitive perfusion system was constructed and used for the investigation of the outflow facility of the polymeric scaffold treated with dexamethasone (a glucocorticoid) and netarsudil (a novel IOP lowering the rho inhibitor). Cells in the in vitro model exhibited an HTM-like morphology, expression of myocilin, fibronectin, and collagen IV, genetic expression, outflow characteristics, and drug responsiveness.
Altogether, the present work develops an in vitro JCT model to better understand HTM cell biology and the relationship between the AH outflow and the HTM and allow further drug screening of pharmacological agents that affect the trabecular outflow facility.
CITATION ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2023 Sep 19. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.3c01071