Human trabecular meshwork cells express BMP antagonist mRNAs and proteins

Tara Tovar-Vidales, Ashley M. Fitzgerald, Abbot F. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Glaucoma patients have elevated aqueous humor and trabecular meshwork (TM) levels of transforming growth factor-beta2 (TGF-β2). TGF-β2 has been associated with increased extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition (i.e. fibronectin), which is attributed to the increased resistance of aqueous humor outflow through the TM. We have previously demonstrated that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 4 selectively counteracts the profibrotic effect of TGF-β2 with respect to ECM synthesis in the TM, and this action is reversed by the BMP antagonist gremlin. Thus, the BMP and TGF-β signaling pathways antagonize each other's antifibrotic and profibrotic roles. The purpose of this study was to determine whether cultured human TM cells: (a) express other BMP antagonists including noggin, chordin, BMPER, BAMBI, Smurf1 and 2, and (b) whether expression of these proteins is regulated by exogenous TGF-β2 treatment. Primary human trabecular meshwork (TM) cells were grown to confluency and treated with TGF-β2 (5 ng/ml) for 24 or 48 h in serum-free medium. Untreated cell served as controls. qPCR and Western immunoblots (WB) determined that human TM cells expressed mRNAs and proteins for the BMP antagonist proteins: noggin, chordin, BMPER, BAMBI, and Smurf1/2. Exogenous TGF-β2 decreased chordin, BMPER, BAMBI, and Smurf1 mRNA and protein expression. In contrast, TGF-β2 increased secreted noggin and Smurf2 mRNA and protein levels. BMP antagonist members are expressed in the human TM. These molecules may be involved in the normal function of the TM as well as TM pathogenesis. Altered expression of BMP antagonist members may lead to functional changes in the human TM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental eye research
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • BMP antagonist proteins
  • Glaucoma
  • Trabecular meshwork cells
  • Transforming growth factor-beta 2


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