Adipose-derived stem cells integrate into trabecular meshwork with glaucoma treatment potential

Yi Zhou, Xiaobo Xia, Enzhi Yang, Yiwen Wang, Kacey G. Marra, C. Ross Ethier, Joel S. Schuman, Yiqin Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The trabecular meshwork (TM) is an ocular tissue that maintains intraocular pressure (IOP) within a physiologic range. Glaucoma patients have reduced TM cellularity and, frequently, elevated IOP. To establish a stem cell-based approach to restoring TM function and normalizing IOP, human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) were induced to differentiate to TM cells in vitro. These ADSC-TM cells displayed a TM cell-like genotypic profile, became phagocytic, and responded to dexamethasone stimulation, characteristic of TM cells. After transplantation into naive mouse eyes, ADSCs and ADSC-TM cells integrated into the TM tissue, expressed TM cell markers, and maintained normal IOP, outflow facility, and extracellular matrix. Cell migration and affinity results indicated that the chemokine pair CXCR4/SDF1 may play an important role in ADSC-TM cell homing. Our study demonstrates the possibility of applying autologous or allogeneic ADSCs and ADSC-TM cells as a potential treatment to restore TM structure and function in glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7160-7177
Number of pages18
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • adipose stem cells; differentiation
  • homing
  • integration
  • trabecular meshwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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