NO-induced regulation of human trabecular meshwork cell volume and aqueous humor outflow facility involve the BKCa ion channel

William M. Dismuke, Chigozirim C. Mbadugha, Dorette Z. Ellis

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90 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) donors decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) by increasing aqueous outflow facility in the trabecular meshwork (TM) and/or Schlemm's canal. However, the cellular mechanisms are unknown. Cellular mechanisms known to regulate outflow facility include changes in cell volume and cellular contractility. In this study, we investigated the effects of NO donors on outflow facility and NO-induced effects on TM cell volume. We tested the involvement of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), cGMP, PKG, and the large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (BKCa) channel using inhibitors and activators. Cell volume was measured using calcein AM fluorescent dye, detected by confocal microscopy, and quantified using NIH ImageJ software. An anterior segment organ perfusion system measured outflow facility. NO increased outflow facility in porcine eye anterior segments (0.4884-1.3956 μl·min-1·mmHg-1) over baseline (0.2373-0.5220 μl·min-1·mmHg-1) within 10 min of drug application. These NO-induced increases in outflow facility were inhibited by the the BKCa channel inhibitor IBTX. Exposure of TM cells to NO resulted in a 10% decrease in cell volume, and these decreases were abolished by the sGC inhibitor 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a] quinoxalin-1-one and IBTX, suggesting the involvement of sGC and K+ eflux, respectively. NO-induced decreases in cell volume were mimicked by 8-Br-cGMP and abolished by the PKG inhibitor (RP)-8-Br-PET-cGMP-S, suggesting the involvement cGMP and PKG. Additionally, the time course for NO-induced decreases in TM cell volume correlated with NO-induced increases in outflow facility, suggesting that the NO-induced alterations in cell volume may influence outflow facility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C1378-C1386
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Eye
  • Protein kinase G
  • Signal transduction
  • Soluble guanylate cyclase
  • cGMP


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