Nicholas A Delamere

Nicholas A Delamere

Department Head, Physiology
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Ophthalmology
Professor, Physiology
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-6425

Research Interest

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.


Delamere, N., Tamiya, S., Okafor, M. C., & Delamere, N. A. (2007). Purinergic agonists stimulate lens Na-K-ATPase-mediated transport via a Src tyrosine kinase-dependent pathway. American journal of physiology. Cell physiology, 293(2).

The Na-K-ATPase is vital for maintenance of lens transparency. Past studies using intact lens suggested the involvement of tyrosine kinases in short-term regulation of Na-K-ATPase. Furthermore, in vitro phosphorylation of a lens epithelial membrane preparation by Src family kinases (SFKs), a family of nonreceptor tyrosine kinases, resulted in modification of Na-K-ATPase activity. Here, the effect of purinergic agonists, ATP and UTP, on Na-K-ATPase function and SFK activation was examined in the rabbit lens. Na-K-ATPase function was examined using two different approaches, measurement of ouabain-sensitive potassium ((86)Rb) uptake by the intact lens, and Na-K-ATPase activity in lens epithelial homogenates. ATP and UTP caused a significant increase in ouabain-sensitive potassium ((86)Rb) uptake. Na-K-ATPase activity was increased in the epithelium of lenses pretreated with ATP. Lenses treated with ATP or UTP displayed activation of SFKs as evidenced by increased Western blot band density of active SFK (phosphorylated at the active loop Y416) and decreased band density of inactive SFKs (phosphorylated at the COOH terminal). A single PY416-Src immunoreactive band at approximately 60 kDa was observed, suggesting not all Src family members are activated. Immunoprecipitation studies showed that band density of active Src, and to a lesser extent active Fyn, was significantly increased, while active Yes did not change. Preincubation of the lenses with SFK inhibitor PP2 abolished the ATP-induced increase in ouabain-sensitive potassium ((86)Rb) uptake. The results suggest selective activation of Src and/or Fyn is part of a signaling mechanism initiated by purinergic agonists that increases Na-K-ATPase-mediated transport in the organ-cultured lens.

Delamere, N. A., Mandal, A., & Shahidullah, M. (2016). The Significance of TRPV4 Channels and Hemichannels in the Lens and Ciliary Epithelium. Journal of ocular pharmacology and therapeutics, 32(8), 504-508.

To function normally, all cells must maintain ion homeostasis, establish a membrane potential, and regulate water content. These actions require active Na-K transport provided by Na,K-ATPase. The lens, however, is made up almost entirely of fiber cells that have little or no Na,K-ATPase activity. Lens ion and water homeostasis rely on Na,K-ATPase activity in a small number of cells at the periphery of epithelium monolayer. Therefore, the function of the epithelium must be integrated with the needs of the fiber mass. This suggests that a remote control mechanism may adjust Na,K-ATPase activity to match increases or decreases of ion leakage, which may occur a considerable distance away. Here, we review evidence that TRPV4 channels in the epithelium become activated when the lens is subjected to osmotic- or damage-induced swelling. This triggers a chain of events in the lens epithelium that opens connexin hemichannels, allowing ATP release that stimulates purinergic receptors, activates Src family tyrosine kinases, and increases Na,K-ATPase activity. Recent studies also revealed functional connexin hemichannels along with TRPV4 channels in nonpigmented ciliary epithelial (NPE) cells that secrete aqueous humor into the eye. Because TRPV4 channels are mechanosensitive, we speculate they might enable the NPE to respond to stimuli such as mechanical distortion associated with volume homeostasis during fluid transfer across the ciliary epithelium or changes in intraocular pressure.

Borchman, D., Paterson, C. A., & Delamere, N. A. (1989). Oxidative inhibition of Ca2+-ATPase in the rabbit lens. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 30(7), 1633-7.

Hydrogen peroxide inhibition of maximum Ca2+-ATPase and Na+,K+-ATPase activity was measured in a membrane-enriched preparation of rabbit lens cortical fibers and epithelium. At 5 X 10(-6) M hydrogen peroxide maximum Ca2+-ATPase activity was inhibited by 39%, while maximum Na+,K+-ATPase activity was stimulated. Ca2+-ATPase activity was almost completely inhibited at 5 X 10(-4) M hydrogen peroxide, in comparison to Na+,K+-ATPase activity, which was only inhibited by 28% at a concentration of hydrogen peroxide an order of magnitude larger. The addition of catalase to hydrogen peroxide-pretreated samples did not reverse the inhibition of Ca2+-ATPase by hydrogen peroxide.

Dong, J., Delamere, N. A., & Coca-Prados, M. (1994). Inhibition of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activates Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter activity in cultured ciliary epithelium. The American journal of physiology, 266(1 Pt 1), C198-205.

Inhibition of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activates Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter activity in cultured ciliary epithelium. Am. J. Physiol. 266 (Cell Physiol. 35): C198-C205, 1994.--86Rb uptake experiments were conducted to measure Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activity and Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter activity in a cell line derived from rabbit nonpigmented ciliary epithelium. The presence of a Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter was supported by the observation of a bumetanide-sensitive 86Rb uptake component that was dependent on the extracellular concentration of both sodium and chloride. Potassium influx mediated by the Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter and Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase accounted for approximately 46 and 33% of total potassium uptake, respectively, whereas both ouabain- and bumetanide-resistant uptake accounted for 9%. Inhibition of the Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase had a stimulatory effect on Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter activity, which was dependent on the extent and duration of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase inhibition. Ouabain treatment stimulated the potassium (86Rb) efflux rate and reduced intracellular potassium ([K]i). Potassium channel blockers suppressed the ouabain-activated potassium efflux and inhibited the ouabain-induced activation of the Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter. We conclude that Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase inhibition leads to the opening of potassium channels, which exacerbates the depletion of cellular potassium; Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter stimulation caused by the fall of [K]i overrides the tendency of increased cellular sodium to inhibit the cotransporter.

Shahidullah, M., & Delamere, N. A. (2014). Connexins form functional hemichannels in porcine ciliary epithelium. Experimental eye research, 118, 20-9.

The expression of connexins in the ciliary epithelium is consistent with gap junctions between the pigmented (PE) and nonpigmented ciliary epithelium (NPE) that form when connexon hemichannels from adjacent cells pair to form a channel. Here we present evidence that suggests undocked connexons may form functional hemichannels that permit exchange of substances between NPE and the aqueous humor. Intact porcine eyes were perfused via the ciliary artery and propidium iodide (PI) (MW 668) was added to the aqueous humor compartment as a tracer. After calcium-free solution containing PI was introduced into the aqueous humor compartment for 30 min, fluorescence microscopy revealed PI in the NPE cell layer. PI entry into the NPE was inhibited by calcium and by the connexin antagonist 18α-glycyrrhetinic acid (18-AGA). Studies also were carried out with cultured porcine NPE. Under normal conditions, little PI entered the cultured cells but calcium-free medium stimulated PI accumulation and the entry was inhibited by 18-AGA. In cells loaded with calcein (MW 622), calcium-free solution stimulated calcein exit. 18-AGA partially suppressed calcein exit in calcium-free medium. Connexin 43 and connexin 50 proteins were detected by western blot analysis in both native and cultured NPE. In the intact eye, immunolocalization studies revealed connexin 50 at the basolateral, aqueous humor-facing, margin of the NPE. In contrast, connexin 43 was observed at the junction of the PE and NPE layer and on the basolateral membrane of PE. The results point to functional hemichannels at the NPE basolateral surface. It is feasible that hemichannels might contribute to the transfer of substances between the ciliary epithelium cytoplasm and aqueous humor.