Ocular hypotensive effects of the ATP sensitive potassium channel opener cromakalim in human and murine experimental model systems

Uttio Roy Chowdhury, Cindy K. Bahler, Bradley H. Holman, Peter I. Dosa, Michael P Fautsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most prevalent and only treatable risk factor for glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Unfortunately, all current therapeutics used to treat elevated IOP and glaucoma have significant and sometimes irreversible side effects necessitating the development of novel compounds. We evaluated the IOP lowering ability of the broad spectrum KATP channel opener cromakalim. Cultured human anterior segments when treated with 2 μM cromakalim showed a decrease in pressure (19.33 ± 2.78 mmHg at 0 hours to 13.22 ± 2.64 mmHg at 24 hours; pATP channel subunit specificity, Kir6.2(-/-) mice were treated with cromakalim, but unlike wild-type animals, no change in IOP was noted. Histologic analysis of treated and control eyes in cultured human anterior segments and in mice showed similar cell numbers and extracellular matrix integrity within the trabecular meshwork, with no disruptions in the inner and outer walls of Schlemm's canal. Together these studies suggest that cromakalim is a potent ocular hypotensive agent that lowers IOP via activation of Kir6.2 containing KATP channels, its effect is additive when used in combination with the commonly used glaucoma drug latanoprost, and is not toxic to cells and tissues of the aqueous humor outflow pathway, making it a candidate for future therapeutic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141783
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 4 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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