Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 202905, 8 pages
Review Article

Integrins in Trabecular Meshwork and Optic Nerve Head: Possible Association with the Pathogenesis of Glaucoma

1Department of Ophthalmology, Ruijin Hospital Affiliated Medical School, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, 197 Rui Jin Er Road, Shanghai 200025, China
2Scheie Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 29 November 2012; Accepted 7 February 2013

Academic Editor: H. C. Van der Mei

Copyright © 2013 Yisheng Zhong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Integrins are a family of membrane-spanning proteins that are important receptors for cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins. They also provide connections between the extracellular environment and intracellular cytoskeletons and are responsible for activation of many intracellular signaling pathways. In vitro and in vivo data strongly indicate that integrin-mediated signaling events can modulate the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in trabecular meshwork (TM) cells and are associated with astrocyte migration and microglia activation of the optic nerve head in patients with primary open angle glaucoma. Consequently, increase in resistance in the TM outflow pathways and remodeling of the optic nerve head occur, which in turn increases intraocular pressure (IOP), adds additional mechanical stress and strain to optic nerve axons, and accelerates damage of axons initially caused by optic nerve head remodeling. Integrins appear to be ideal candidates for translating physical stress and strain into cellular responses known to occur in glaucomatous optic neuropathy.