Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC)-null mice exhibit more uniform outflow. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(3):2035-47.Abstract.
PURPOSE: Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) is a matricellular protein known to regulate extracellular matrix (ECM) in many tissues and is highly expressed in trabecular meshwork (TM). SPARC-null mice have a 15% to 20% decrease in intraocular pressure (IOP) compared to wild-type (WT) mice. We hypothesized that mouse aqueous outflow is segmental, and that transgenic deletion of SPARC causes a more uniform pattern that correlates with IOP and TM morphology. METHODS: Eyes of C57BL6-SV129 WT and SPARC-null mice were injected with fluorescent microbeads, which were also passively exposed to freshly enucleated eyes. Confocal and electron microscopy were performed. Percentage effective filtration length (PEFL) was calculated as PEFL = FL/TL × 100%, where TL = total length and FL = filtration length. IOP was measured by rebound tonometry. RESULTS: Passive microbead affinity for WT and SPARC-null ECM did not differ. Segmental flow was observed in the mouse eye. SPARC-null mice had a 23% decrease in IOP. PEFL increased in SPARC-null (70.61 ± 11.36%) versus WT mice (54.68 ± 9.95%, P < 0.005; n = 11 pairs), and PEFL and IOP were negatively correlated (R(2) = 0.72, n = 10 pairs). Morphologically, TM of high-tracer regions had increased separation between beams compared to low-tracer regions. Collagen fibril diameter decreased in SPARC-null (28.272 nm) versus WT tissue (34.961 nm, P < 0.0005; n = 3 pairs). CONCLUSIONS: Aqueous outflow in mice is segmental. SPARC-null mice demonstrated a more uniform outflow pattern and decreased collagen fibril diameter. Areas of high flow had less compact juxtacanalicular connective tissue ECM, and IOP was inversely correlated with PEFL. Our data show a correlation between morphology, aqueous outflow, and IOP, indicating a modulatory role of SPARC in IOP regulation.