The Journal of biological chemistry

Transforming growth factor β2 (TGFβ2) signaling plays a key role in glucocorticoid-induced ocular hypertension.

PMID 29743238


Elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP) is a serious adverse effect of glucocorticoid (GC) therapy. Increased extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the trabecular meshwork (TM) is associated with GC-induced IOP elevation. However, the molecular mechanisms by which GCs induce ECM accumulation and ER stress in the TM have not been determined. Here, we show that a potent GC, dexamethasone (Dex), activates transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling, leading to GC-induced ECM accumulation, ER stress, and IOP elevation. Dex increased both the precursor and bioactive forms of TGFβ2 in conditioned medium and activated TGFβ-induced SMAD signaling in primary human TM cells. Dex also activated TGFβ2 in the aqueous humor and TM of a mouse model of Dex-induced ocular hypertension. We further show that Smad3-/- mice are protected from Dex-induced ocular hypertension, ER stress, and ECM accumulation. Moreover, treating WT mice with a selective TGFβ receptor kinase I inhibitor, LY364947, significantly decreased Dex-induced ocular hypertension. Of note, knockdown of the ER stress-induced activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4), or C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), completely prevented Dex-induced TGFβ2 activation and ECM accumulation in TM cells. These observations suggested that chronic ER stress promotes Dex-induced ocular hypertension via TGFβ signaling. Our results indicate that TGFβ2 signaling plays a central role in GC-induced ocular hypertension and provides therapeutic targets for GC-induced ocular hypertension.

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