Medical Research Council - Clinical Services Centre

Living under Pressure
27 May 2012

Living under Pressure

A small chamber at the front of our eyeballs is constantly replenished with plasma-like fluid. A tiny tract called Schlemm’s canal drains waste and excess fluid to the bloodstream. As the fluid level fluctuates, this narrow pipe maintains the correct pressure in the chamber by providing resistance. Researchers are studying the proteins that keep the canal lining attached in this unusual environment. If this endothelial cell layer (pictured; nuclei stained brown) is displaced it could cause an obstruction. And if Schlemm’s canal blocks, pressure builds up and sight-threatening glaucoma may develop. The combination of proteins shown, tagged with green, red and purple fluorescence, may provide clues to causes and treatments for glaucoma, which affects over 10,000 people a year in the UK.

Written by Lindsey Goff

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