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Exp Eye Res. 2007 Mar;84(3):383-8. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

The role of cathepsins in ocular physiology and pathology.

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  • 1Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Cathepsins are proteases that were originally identified in the lysosome, where they participate in house keeping tasks such as degradation of phagocytosed photoreceptors. More recently, cathepsins have been detected outside of the lysosome, and associated with numerous diseases (keratoconus, retinal detachment, age related macular degeneration, and glaucoma). The most likely mechanism by which cathepsins contribute to ocular pathologies is via degradation of the extracellular matrix, and/or regulation of angiogenesis.

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