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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Feb;50(2):737-42. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2390.

Expression of matrix metalloproteinases during experimental Candida albicans keratitis.

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  • 1Sid W. Richardson Ocular Microbiology Laboratory, Cullen Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



This study was designed to investigate the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) during the inception and progression of experimental keratomycosis.


Scarified corneas of adult BALB/c mice were topically inoculated with Candida albicans strain SC5314 and monitored for disease severity. Infected and mock-infected corneas were compared at 1 day post inoculation (p.i.) with a murine gene microarray. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) determined MMP and TIMP levels at 1, 3, and 7 days p.i. for infected, mock-infected, and normal corneas. Immunostaining localized target proteins at 1 day p.i.


Eyes inoculated with C. albicans developed corneal infection with a mean clinical score of 8.2+/-0.8 at 1 day p.i. Compared to controls at 1 day p.i., MMP-8, -9, -10, -12, -13, -19, and TIMP-1 were significantly upregulated from fivefold to 375-fold by microarray and from threefold to 78-fold by real-time RT-PCR. Upregulated MMPs and TIMP-1 in the corneal epithelium and stroma of infected eyes correlated with the influx of acute inflammatory cells. Neither MMP-8 nor -13 expression was affected by mechanical trauma, but both increased >100-fold during the week after the onset of fungal keratitis. TIMP-1 expression rose from 21-fold more than controls at 1 day to 46-fold at 7 days p.i. by RT-PCR.


Transcriptional and translational levels of MMP-8, -9, -13, and TIMP-1 increase during the early stages of C. albicans keratitis, confirming findings for MMP-9 and TIMP-1 in other infectious keratitis models and suggesting roles for MMP-8 and -13.

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