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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tear levels and activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-9 in vernal keratoconjunctivitis.

PURPOSE: To study levels and activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and -9 and their tissue inhibitor (TIMP-1) in tears of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC), with and without severe corneal damage. METHODS: Tear samples were obtained from 16 patients with active VKC and 10 normal control subjects, after clinical evaluation and tear cytology. Tear levels of pro-MMP-1, pro-MMP-9, and TIMP-1 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Collagenase and gelatinase activity were measured in tears by MMP activity assays. Immunohistochemistry was performed on a fragment of superficial keratectomy from two vernal corneal ulcers. RESULTS: Tear levels of pro-MMP-1 and pro-MMP-9 were significantly increased in patients with VKC compared with control subjects (P < 0.001). MMP-1/TIMP-1 and MMP-9/TIMP-1 molar ratios were significantly increased (P < 0.001) in VKC. MMP-1 and MMP-9 activities were significantly increased in VKC tears compared with control samples (P < 0.005). MMP-9 activity correlated significantly with corneal involvement and giant papillae formation. Immunohistochemistry showed positive staining for MMP-9, fibronectin, and eosinophil cationic protein ( ECP) on the superficial corneal stroma of the ulcer bed, but no inflammatory cells. CONCLUSIONS: Increased levels and activity of MMP-1 and -9 and an imbalance between MMPs and TIMP may be involved in the pathogenesis of VKC.[1]


  1. Tear levels and activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-9 in vernal keratoconjunctivitis. Leonardi, A., Brun, P., Abatangelo, G., Plebani, M., Secchi, A.G. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (2003) [Pubmed]
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