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Exp Eye Res. 1998 Dec;67(6):637-45.

Increase in interphotoreceptor matrix gelatinase A (MMP-2) associated with age-related macular degeneration.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-5068, USA.


Matrix metalloproteinases have increasingly been shown to be associated with diseases involving neovascularization and/or abnormal cellular migration or proliferation. A number of diseases of this type affect the retina. In this study, the activity of gelatinase A (MMP-2), the most abundant matrix metalloproteinase in IPM (interphoto receptor matrix) and vitreous, was measured with respect to age in normal human donor eyes and compared to donors with age-related macular degeneration. IPM and vitreous were obtained from a total of 88 human donors. Samples for electrophoresis were normalized for protein content and subjected to quantitative gelatin zymography. The zymograms were scanned and then digitized and quantitated using the NIH 'Image' program. There was not a statistically significant change in the level of gelatinase A in IPM or vitreous as a function of age, although a slight downward trend was found in the total gelatinase A activity within the normal population. Likewise, when comparing normal and age-related macular degeneration donors, there was not a significant difference in the gelatinase A level in vitreous or in retina-associated IPM. However, the level of gelatinase A was nearly doubled specifically in retinal pigment epithelium-associated IPM from eyes with age-related macular degeneration [0.99 +/- 0.09 U mg-1 (56) vs 1.71 +/- 0.28 U mg-1 (14) (mean +/- S.E.M. (number), P < 0.0021; 1 unit = 1.0 ng gelatin cleaved h-1). Gelatinase A may be associated with the changes that occur in age-related macular degeneration, especially the neovascularization which accompanies the exudative ('wet') form of the disease.

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