TGFβ Signaling Dysregulation May Contribute to COL4A1-Related Glaucomatous Optic Nerve Damage
May 15, 2024

TGFβ Signaling Dysregulation May Contribute to COL4A1-Related Glaucomatous Optic Nerve Damage

Purpose: Mutations in the genes encoding type IV collagen alpha 1 (COL4A1) and alpha 2 (COL4A2) cause a multisystem disorder that includes ocular anterior segment dysgenesis (ASD) and glaucoma. We previously showed that transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling was elevated in developing anterior segments from Col4a1 mutant mice and that reducing TGFβ signaling ameliorated ASD, supporting a role for the TGFβ pathway in disease pathogenesis. Here, we tested whether altered TGFβ signaling also contributes to glaucoma-related phenotypes in Col4a1 mutant mice.

Methods: To test the role of TGFβ signaling in glaucoma-relevant phenotypes, we genetically reduced TGFβ signaling using mice with mutated Tgfbr2, which encodes the common receptor for all TGFβ ligands in Col4a1+/G1344D mice. We performed slit-lamp biomicroscopy and optical coherence tomography for qualitative and quantitative analyses of anterior and posterior ocular segments, histological analyses of ocular tissues and optic nerves, and intraocular pressure assessments using rebound tonometry.

Results: Col4a1+/G1344D mice showed defects of the ocular drainage structures, including iridocorneal adhesions, and phenotypes consistent with glaucomatous neurodegeneration, including thinning of the nerve fiber layer, retinal ganglion cell loss, optic nerve head excavation, and optic nerve degeneration. We found that reducing TGFβ receptor 2 (TGFBR2) was protective for ASD, ameliorated ocular drainage structure defects, and protected against glaucomatous neurodegeneration in Col4a1+/G1344D mice.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that elevated TGFβ signaling contributes to glaucomatous neurodegeneration in Col4a1 mutant mice.

*Author(s): Mao Mao; Yien-Ming Kuo; Alfred K. Yu; Cassandre Labelle-Dumais; Yvonne Ou; Douglas B. Gould

Experimental Paper of the Month manager: Anthony Khawaja

Editorial Board: Humma Shahid, Karl Mercieca, Francisco Goni

Editors in Chief: Francesco Oddone, Manuele Michelessi