Trabecular Meshwork Mitochondrial Function and Oxidative Stress: Clues to Racial Disparities of Glaucoma

Hongli Wu, Ying Bo Shui, Ying Liu, Xiaobin Liu, Carla J. Siegfried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify racial differences of oxidative damage and stress and mitochondrial function in human trabecular meshwork (TM). Design: Experimental study. Participants: One hundred seventy-three eyes of 173 patients undergoing intraocular surgery provided aqueous humor (AH) for analysis. Trabecular meshwork tissues from eye bank donors were used as healthy controls for primary cell culture. Methods: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methods were used to measure 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), an oxidative damage marker, in AH comparing Black and White Americans. Human TM primary cultured cells from Black and White donors were used for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurement under high and low oxygen culture conditions. Complex I activity was measured in mitochondrial fractions isolated from cultured TM cells. Mitochondrial quantification was performed by translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20 (TOMM20) Western blot. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured in live TM cells. Main Outcome Measures: Oxidative damage in AH, ATP production, complex I activity, mitochondrial quantification, and intracellular ROS in cultured TM cells stratified by racial background. Results: Aqueous humor samples (75 Black, 98 White) displayed significantly higher 8-OHdG levels (P = 0.024) in Black compared with White patients with severe stage glaucoma. Using cultured healthy donor TM cells, ATP production was higher in Black than White TM cells (P = 0.002) in low oxygen culture conditions. Complex I activity was not statistically different in Black compared with White TM cells, but TOMM20 expression was higher in Black versus White cells (P = 0.001). In response to hydrogen peroxide challenge, ROS production was significantly higher in Black compared to White TM cells (P = 0.004). Conclusions: Significantly higher 8-OHdG levels in AH of Black compared with White patients with severe glaucoma indicated that oxidative damage may be a risk factor in glaucoma pathogenesis or the result of distinct pathologic features in the Black population. To identify potential origins or causes of this damage, our data showed that healthy Black cultured TM cells have higher ATP and ROS levels, with increased quantity of mitochondria, compared with White TM cells. These findings indicate that mitochondrial alterations and increased oxidative stress may influence racial disparities of glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100107
JournalOphthalmology Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Glaucoma
  • Mitochondrial function
  • Oxidative damage
  • Racial disparity
  • Trabecular meshwork


Dive into the research topics of 'Trabecular Meshwork Mitochondrial Function and Oxidative Stress: Clues to Racial Disparities of Glaucoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this