Nicholas A Delamere
Department Head, Physiology
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Ophthalmology
Professor, Physiology
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-6425
Research Interest
Nicholas Delamere, Ph.D., studies how ocular pressure (pressure in the eye) is controlled and the way cells transport fluid, and seeks to find methods to regulate the mechanisms involved. His goal is to develop drugs that reduce intraocular pressure, thereby decreasing the severity of glaucoma and damage to the retina. His cataract research also offers a promising model for tissue preservation, which will delay the onset of cataracts.


King, K. L., Delamere, N. A., Csukas, S. C., & Pierce, W. M. (1992). Metabolism of arachidonic acid by isolated rabbit ciliary epithelium. Experimental eye research, 55(2), 235-41.

We examined the ability of rabbit ciliary epithelium to metabolize arachidonic acid in vitro. The epithelium was homogenized and incubated with 14C-labeled arachidonic acid. 14C-labeled metabolites were extracted and then separated by thin layer chromatography. The range of arachidonic acid metabolites synthesized by ciliary epithelium was compared to the metabolites generated by rabbit iris-ciliary body. Ciliary epithelium produced substantial amounts of arachidonic acid metabolites that comigrated with 5-HETE and 12-HETE. Authenticity of the 12-HETE produced by ciliary epithelium was confirmed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The ciliary epithelium generated only small amounts of the cyclooxygenase products, PGF2 alpha, PGE2, PGD2 and 6k-PGF1 alpha. In contrast, the iris-ciliary body produced large amounts of cyclooxygenase products such as PGF2 alpha and PGD2. The ability of the ciliary epithelium to generate 12-HETE is noteworthy since 12(R)-HETE is known to be capable of lowering intraocular pressure.

Shahidullah, M., Mandal, A., & Delamere, N. A. (2016). Src Family Kinase Links Insulin Signaling to Short Term Regulation of Na,K-ATPase in Nonpigmented Ciliary Epithelium. Journal of cellular physiology.

Insulin has been shown to elicit changes of Na,K-ATPase activity in various tissues. Na,K-ATPase in the nonpigmented ciliary epithelium (NPE) plays a role in aqueous humor secretion and changes of Na,K-ATPase activity impact the driving force. Because we detect a change of NPE Na,K-ATPase activity in response to insulin, studies were carried out to examine the response mechanism. Ouabain-sensitive rubidium (Rb) uptake by cultured NPE cells, measured as a functional index of Na,K-ATPase-mediated inward potassium transport, was found to increase in cells exposed for 5 min to insulin. The maximally effective concentration was 100 nM. An intrinsic increase of Na,K-ATPase activity evident as a >2-fold increase in the rate of ouabain-sensitive ATP hydrolysis in homogenates obtained from cells exposed to 100 nM insulin for 5 min was also observed. Insulin-treated cells exhibited Akt, Src family kinase (SFK), ERK1/2, and p38 activation, all of which were prevented by a pI3 kinase inhibitor LY294002. The Rb uptake and Na,K-ATPase activity response to insulin both were abolished by PP2, an SFK inhibitor which also prevented p38 and ERK1/2 but not Akt activation. The Akt inhibitor MK-2206 did not change the Na,K-ATPase response to insulin. The findings suggest insulin activates pI3K-dependent Akt and SFK signaling pathways that are separate. ERK1/2 and p38 activation is secondary to and dependent on SFK activation. The increase of Na,K-ATPase activity is dependent on activation of the SFK pathway. The findings are consistent with previous studies that indicate a link between Na,K-ATPase activity and SFK signaling. J. Cell. Physiol. 9999: 1-12, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Delamere, N. A. (1996). Ascorbic acid and the eye. Sub-cellular biochemistry, 25, 313-29.
Borchman, D., Delamere, N. A., McCauley, L. A., & Paterson, C. A. (1989). Studies on the distribution of cholesterol, phospholipid, and protein in the human and bovine lens. Lens and eye toxicity research, 6(4), 703-24.

The regional distribution of cholesterol, phospholipid and protein content was determined on pools of human lenses ranging from 13 to 68 years old. The study was undertaken to establish age matched controls for comparison with cataractous lenses. Future spectroscopic structure analysis of human lenses will be performed and the results related to chemical composition. The molar cholesterol to phospholipid ratio was 3.5 +/- 0.3 for human lens. This ratio is high for human tissue. The lens ratio increased from 2.2 +/- 0.3 in the equatorial region to 9.2 +/- 1.6 in the nuclear region. This trend was also observed in the bovine lens. The relative amount of protein increased concomitantly from 0.13 +/- 0.02 Kg protein per gram lipid in the equatorial region to 0.33 +/- 0.06 in the nucleus. The cholesterol to protein ratio remained constant throughout the lens at 0.073 +/- 0.003 Kg suggesting cholesterol could be associated with the crystallin proteins. In partially purified membrane preparations the cholesterol to phospholipid molar ratio was 2.6 +/- 0.2 and 3.2 +/- 0.2 for the cortex and nucleus respectively, three times lower than for the whole tissue. The high cholesterol content could account for the observed rigidity of membranes measured by infrared spectroscopic examination of the CH stretching band.

Goldman, A., Chen, H., Khan, M. R., Roesly, H., Hill, K. A., Shahidullah, M., Mandal, A., Delamere, N. A., & Dvorak, K. (2011). The Na+/H+ exchanger controls deoxycholic acid-induced apoptosis by a H+-activated, Na+-dependent ionic shift in esophageal cells. PloS one, 6(8), e23835.

Apoptosis resistance is a hallmark of cancer cells. Typically, bile acids induce apoptosis. However during gastrointestinal (GI) tumorigenesis the cancer cells develop resistance to bile acid-induced cell death. To understand how bile acids induce apoptosis resistance we first need to identify the molecular pathways that initiate apoptosis in response to bile acid exposure. In this study we examined the mechanism of deoxycholic acid (DCA)-induced apoptosis, specifically the role of Na(+)/H(+) exchanger (NHE) and Na(+) influx in esophageal cells. In vitro studies revealed that the exposure of esophageal cells (JH-EsoAd1, CP-A) to DCA (0.2 mM-0.5 mM) caused lysosomal membrane perturbation and transient cytoplasmic acidification. Fluorescence microscopy in conjunction with atomic absorption spectrophotometry demonstrated that this effect on lysosomes correlated with influx of Na(+), subsequent loss of intracellular K(+), an increase of Ca(2+) and apoptosis. However, ethylisopropyl-amiloride (EIPA), a selective inhibitor of NHE, prevented Na(+), K(+) and Ca(2+) changes and caspase 3/7 activation induced by DCA. Ouabain and amphotericin B, two drugs that increase intracellular Na(+) levels, induced similar changes as DCA (ion imbalance, caspase3/7 activation). On the contrary, DCA-induced cell death was inhibited by medium with low a Na(+) concentrations. In the same experiments, we exposed rat ileum ex-vivo to DCA with or without EIPA. Severe tissue damage and caspase-3 activation was observed after DCA treatment, but EIPA almost fully prevented this response. In summary, NHE-mediated Na(+) influx is a critical step leading to DCA-induced apoptosis. Cells tolerate acidification but evade DCA-induced apoptosis if NHE is inhibited. Our data suggests that suppression of NHE by endogenous or exogenous inhibitors may lead to apoptosis resistance during GI tumorigenesis.