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Delayed reorganisation of F-actin cytoskeleton and reversible chromatin condensation in scleral fibroblasts under simulated pathological strain

Markov, Petar, Zhu, Hanxing ORCID:, Boote, Craig ORCID: and Blain, Emma J. ORCID: 2022. Delayed reorganisation of F-actin cytoskeleton and reversible chromatin condensation in scleral fibroblasts under simulated pathological strain. Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports 32 , 101338.

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Mechanical loading regulates the functional capabilities of the ocular system, particularly in the sclera (‘white of the eye’) – the principal load-bearing tissue of the ocular globe. Resident fibroblasts of the scleral eye wall are continuously subjected to fluctuating mechanical strains arising from eye movements, cerebrospinal fluid pressure and, most influentially, intra-ocular pressure (IOP). Whilst fibroblasts are hypothesised to actively participate in scleral biomechanics, to date limited information has been reported on how the macroscopic stresses and strains are transmitted via their cytoskeletal networks. In this study, the effect of applying either a ‘physiological load’ (simulating healthy IOP) or a ‘pathological load’ (simulating an elevated glaucomatous IOP) to bovine scleral fibroblasts, as a model of human glaucoma, was conducted to characterise cytoskeletal organisation, chromatin condensation and cell dimensions using immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. Quantification of cell parameters and cytoskeletal element anisotropy were subsequently performed using FibrilTool, and chromatin condensation parameter assessment through a bespoke MATLAB script. The novel findings suggest that physiological load-induced F-actin rearrangement is transient, whereas pathological load, recapitulating in vivo glaucomatous IOP levels, had a reversible and inhibitory influence on remodelling of the cytoskeletal architecture and, further, induction of chromatin condensation. Ultimately, this could compromise cell behaviour. These findings could provide valuable insight into the mechanism(s) used by scleral fibroblasts to mechanically adapt to support biomechanical tissue integrity, and how it could be potentially modified for therapeutic avenues targeting mechanically mediated ocular pathologies such as glaucoma.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Optometry and Vision Sciences
ISSN: 2405-5808
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 September 2022
Date of Acceptance: 27 August 2022
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 02:37

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