Crosstalk between transforming growth factor beta-2 and toll-like receptor 4 in the trabecular meshwork

Humberto Hernandez, Wanda E. Medina-Ortiz, Tomi Luan, Abbot F. Clark, Colleen M. McDowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The trabecular meshwork (TM) is involved in the outflow of aqueous humor and intraocular pressure (IOP) regulation. Regulation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by TGFβ2 signaling pathways in the TM has been extensively studied. Recent evidence has implicated toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the regulation of ECM and fibrogenesis in liver, kidney, lung, and skin. Here, we investigated the role of TGFβ2-TLR4 signaling crosstalk in the regulation of the ECM in the TM and ocular hypertension. METHODS: Cross sections of human donor eyes, primary human TM cells in culture, and dissected mouse TM rings were used to determine Tlr4 expression in the TM. Trabecular meshwork cells in culture were treated with TGFβ2 (5 ng/mL), TLR4 inhibitor (TAK-242, 15 μM), and a TLR4 ligand (cellular fibronectin isoform [cFN]-EDA). A/J (n = 13), AKR/J (n = 7), BALBc/J (n = 8), C3H/HeJ (n = 20), and C3H/HeOuJ (n = 10) mice were injected intravitreally with adenovirus 5 (Ad5).hTGFβ2c226s/c228s in one eye, with the uninjected contralateral eye serving as a control. Conscious IOP measurements were taken using a TonoLab rebound tonometer. RESULTS: Toll-like receptor 4 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.hTGFβ2c226s/c228s induces ocular hypertension in wild-type mice but has no effect in Tlr4 mutant (C3H/HeJ) mice. CONCLUSIONS: These studies identify TGFβ2-TLR4 crosstalk as a novel pathway involved in ECM regulation in the TM and ocular hypertension. These data further explain the complex mechanisms involved in the development of glaucomatous TM damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1823
Number of pages13
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • TGFβ2
  • TLR4
  • Trabecular meshwork


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