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Exp Eye Res. 2010 May;90(5):583-90. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2010.02.002. Epub 2010 Feb 11.

Role of matrix metalloproteinases in recurrent corneal melting.

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  • 1Laboratory of the Biology and Pathology of the Eye, Institute of Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Charles University in Prague, First Faculty of Medicine and General Teaching Hospital Prague, Ke Karlovu 2, 12808 Prague 2, Czech Republic.


The aim of this study was to compare the presence and activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 13 in human melted and cadaverous corneas. Twelve melted corneal specimens from three patients with rheumatoid arthritis, one patient with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid and one patient with melting attributed to spastic entropion and ten control corneal buttons were used. The presence of MMPs was detected using indirect enzyme immunohistochemistry. The active forms of MMP-2 and -9 and MMP-3 and -7 were examined by gelatin and casein zymography, respectively. The concentrations of active MMP-1 and -3 were measured using activity assays. Increased immunostaining intensity for MMP-1 and -9 was seen in the corneal epithelium and the anterior stroma of all, and for MMP-2, -3, -7 and -8 of almost all, melted corneas compared to the negative or slightly positive staining of the controls. The posterior stroma showed the presence of MMP-1, -2, -3 and -9 in almost all and of MMP-7 and -8 in half of all melted specimens. A markedly higher level of active MMP-2 was detected in six and active MMP-9 in all of eleven pathologic specimens compared to control specimens, using gelatin zymography. The proenzymes of MMP-3 and -7 and the MMP-7 intermediate cleavage product were detected only in melted corneas using casein zymography. Significantly increased MMP-1 and -3 activity was also found in the melted corneas using activity assays. The markedly increased immunostaining for MMP-1, -2, -3, -7, -8 and -9 as well as the elevated levels of the active forms of MMP-1, -2, -3 and -9 in melted corneal specimens from patients with various diagnoses suggest that although different stimuli may trigger the pathways that lead to the destruction of the extracellular matrix, these enzymes could play a subsequent role in this process.

(c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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