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J Biol Chem. 2005 Sep 2;280(35):31240-8. Epub 2005 Jun 28.

Involvement of inflammation, degradation, and apoptosis in a mouse model of glaucoma.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Dean A. McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA.


Glaucoma is a common cause of blindness affecting at least 66 million people worldwide. Pigmentary glaucoma is one of the most common forms of secondary glaucoma, and its pathogenesis remains unclear. Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is an important regulator of innate and acquired immune responses and plays an important role in inflammatory/autoimmunity diseases. Using the DBA/2J mouse as an animal model of human pigmentary glaucoma, we demonstrated for the first time that the expression of the IL-18 protein and gene in the iris/ciliary body and level of IL-18 protein in the aqueous humor of DBA/2J mice are dramatically increased with age. This increase precedes the onset of clinical evidence of pigmentary glaucoma, implying a pathogenic role of inflammation/immunity in this disease. We also observed that activated NF-kappaB and phosphorylated MAPK are increased in the iris/ciliary body of DBA/2J mice, suggesting that both signaling pathways may be involved in IL-18 mediated pathogenesis of pigmentary glaucoma in the eyes of DBA/2J mice. In addition, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) expression in the iris/ciliary body and the activity of MMP-2 in the aqueous humor are increased whereas tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) expression in the iris/ciliary body is decreased, indicating that the degradation process is involved in this mouse model of pigmentary glaucoma. Furthermore, the expressions of apoptosis-related genes, caspase-8, Fas, FADD, FAP, and FAF, and the activity of caspase-3 are increased in the iris/ciliary body of DBA/2J mice. Elucidation of biochemical and molecular mechanisms of IL-18 participation in the pathogenesis of pigmentary glaucoma should provide approaches for developing improved and targeted treatments to ameliorate this blinding disease. The possibility that altered IL-18 expression in the eye of DBA/2J mice initiates and/or amplifies the pathogenesis of pigmentary glaucoma requires further investigation.

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