Nicholas A Delamere

Nicholas A Delamere

Department Head, Physiology
Professor, Physiology
Professor, Ophthalmology
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, BIO5 Institute
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.


Delamere, N. A., & Paterson, C. A. (1981). Anomalous effects of external potassium ions upon the electrophysiological properties of the frog lens. Experimental eye research, 33(2), 233-5.
Borchman, D., Paterson, C., & Delamere, N. (1988). Selective inhibition of membrane ATPases by hydrogen peroxide in the lens of the eye. Basic life sciences, 49, 1029-33.
Borchman, D., Delamere, N. A., & Paterson, C. A. (1988). Ca-ATPase activity in the rabbit and bovine lens. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 29(6), 982-7.

Membrane-rich vesicle preparations of rabbit and bovine lenses were prepared in such a manner as to preserve ATPase activity. The lipid:protein ratio of these preparations was increased 22- to 33-fold with a 94% recovery of total phospholipid. Using this preparation, calcium stimulated ATPase was routinely determined in both individual lenses and in pooled specimens. The pattern of stimulation of ATPase activity by a range of calcium concentrations was found to be similar in membrane preparations of epithelium and cortex, from rabbit and bovine lenses. The concentration of calcium necessary for half-maximal stimulation of ATPase activity was approximately 10(-6) M. Calcium concentrations in excess of 10(-4) M reduced the ATPase activity. Calcium-ATPase was undetectable in the lens nuclear region of both species. The regional distribution of sodium-potassium ATPase was also measured.

Delamere, N. A., & Dean, W. L. (1993). Distribution of lens sodium-potassium-adenosine triphosphatase. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 34(7), 2159-63.

The specific activity of sodium-potassium-adenosine triphosphatase (Na-K-ATPase) in lens fiber cells is lower than the specific activity in lens epithelium. To test whether there is a reduction in the expression of Na-K-ATPase molecules in lens fibers, a Western blot technique was used.

Mandal, A., Shahidullah, M., & Delamere, N. A. (2015). Calcium entry via connexin hemichannels in lens epithelium. Experimental eye research, 132, 52-8.

Exposure to hyposmotic solution causes release of ATP from lens cells via hemichannels. Because hemichannel opening feasibly could swamp the cells with calcium, we carried out studies to measure the magnitude of the increase in cytoplasmic calcium concentration caused by hemichannel opening. In studies on porcine lens epithelial cells in primary culture, propidium iodide (PI) uptake was measured as an index of hemichannel opening. PI uptake was increased significantly in cells exposed to hyposmotic solution. The PI increase under hyposmotic conditions was suppressed by GAP 27, a connexin inhibitor peptide. In studies on cells loaded with Fura-2, continuous exposure to hyposmotic solution caused a cytoplasmic calcium concentration increase that peaked within ∼30 s then remained elevated at or below the peak response for more than 60 min. The peak calcium concentration was 186 ± 2.3 nM compared to a baseline value of 98.0 ± 1.4 nM. The calcium concentration increased a lot further in cells exposed to A23187 (2.5 μM) or the sodium-calcium exchange inhibitor SN-6 (10 μM) added after the onset of the calcium rise in hyposmotic solution. The cytoplasmic calcium increase in hyposmotic solution was abolished by GAP 27. Calcium returned to baseline in cells exposed to hyposmotic solution then treated with GAP 27 starting 2 min after the onset of the calcium rise. The calcium increase in hyposmotic solution did not occur when calcium was eliminated from the bathing medium. The responses to hyposmotic and hyperosmotic stress were different. There was no detectable increase in calcium or PI entry in cells exposed to hyperosmotic solution (500mOsm). In summary, GAP 27-sensitive accumulation of PI by cultured lens epithelium points to connexin hemichannel opening and associated calcium entry. Even though connexins form channels with a large carrying capacity, calcium entry does not increase the cytoplasmic calcium concentration beyond a tolerable physiological range.