Isolation and Culture of Vascular Distal Outflow Pathway (VDOP) Cells From Human Donor Eyes

Uttio Roy Chowdhury, Michael P. Fautsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glaucoma, a progressive neurodegenerative ocular disease, is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most common—and the only treatable—risk factor for glaucoma. IOP is generated by the balance between production and removal of aqueous humor in the anterior part of the eye, and the latter happens either through the uveoscleral or the conventional pathway. Although both pathways are important for aqueous humor removal, dysfunction within the conventional pathway is more commonly associated with increased resistance leading to elevated IOP and glaucoma. The conventional pathway can be separated into proximal (trabecular meshwork and inner wall of Schlemm's canal) and distal (outer wall of Schlemm's canal, collector channels, and episcleral vasculature) regions. Both regions contribute resistance to aqueous humor removal, but the proximal region has been studied more extensively due to the availability of model systems. In contrast, little is known about the role of the distal region in outflow resistance, largely due to the lack of suitable in vitro models. To address this, we have developed a novel method of isolating and culturing vascular distal outflow pathway (VDOP) cells from the distal outflow region of human eyes. VDOP cells can be used to study the physiological and molecular functions of cells in the distal outflow region and can help in the development of ocular hypotensive drugs that specifically target this area. We also provide a protocol describing immunohistochemical methods to validate the molecular profile of these cells, utilizing cell surface markers that distinguish them from adjacent cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere528
JournalCurrent Protocols
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • VDOP cells
  • conventional outflow
  • glaucoma
  • in vitro model
  • primary cell lines
  • vascular distal outflow pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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